Health and Safety Guide for the Airbnb Hosts
Studies show that the average Airbnb host spends about 30% of their rental income to maintain their property, which means spending thousands yearly to ensure they meet the government's stringent health and safety regulations.
As a rental property owner, you should be aware of your responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your guests. Aside from the general requirements for a certificate of fitness, you must also meet other safety requirements.
Here's a guide to property rental health and safety.
Part of the Airbnb host’s responsibility is ensuring that the property is safe and free from hazards of gas leaks. Therefore, as a host, you should know about gas safety, which includes the safe installation of the gas equipment you supply for the property. When it comes to maintenance, a Gas Safe registered engineer should handle it.
While the responsibility for gas safety in a property rental lies with the host, long-term guests must also know these laws and regulations. For instance, the law requires the renter to conduct an annual gas safety check, which a Gas Safe registered engineer must perform. Even if you rent a room in the property, you must pay for a Gas Safe certification.
Hosts that supply gas on the premises must pay for a gas safety check that a Gas Safe Registered Engineer will carry out every 12 months. In addition, although carbon monoxide alarms can help keep a property safe, landlords are not always required by law to install them.
Rental property owners have several responsibilities to consider when staying on top of gas safety in the Airbnb property they rent out. But they need to avoid cutting corners on gas safety as this can have devastating implications and can result in hefty consequences. If you cannot show certification to prove the last two years of appropriate gas checks, you can face legal prosecution for being a negligible host to your tenants, which could put their lives at risk.
Therefore, every landlord should be aware of gas safety. Tenants must also receive a copy of the gas safety check record before they move to the property or within 28 days of performing the gas safety check.
In 2021, over 50% of Airbnb travellers complained about the unsafe amenities in the Airbnb property they are renting, especially concerning electrical and fire hazards. While the law does not require hosts to commit to a regular electrical safety check, if hosts ignore electrical safety and an electrical accident can occur, this can open up a negligence case against them. Therefore, landlords and rental property hosts must be aware of their responsibilities for electrical safety in rental properties.
Whether you own or manage a house, townhouse, unit, duplex, or flat for Airbnb, you must ensure the property is electrically safe. Part of keeping the property electrically safe is regular testing of safety switches, maintaining electrical equipment, and fixing broken appliances.
Property owners must ensure that the electrical systems are safe to use. In addition, it is their responsibility to conduct the required electrical system checks. They should regularly inspect electrically powered things like cooking appliances, wiring, light fittings, and sockets.
Airbnb hosts should invest in safety switches to help keep guests protected from electric shock or injury. Every rental property must have safety switches installed on all circuits. Landlords must also encourage long-term guests to test safety switches every three months.
Landlords or property managers are also responsible for maintaining all electrical equipment on the Airbnb property. It can include those plugged in, like dishwashers and washing machines and the hard-wired ones, like hot water systems and air conditioners. In case of any issues, the tenant must immediately inform the landlord to conduct repairs or maintenance.
Tenants should not ignore a shock or tingle in electrical equipment and other metal fittings since these are signs of an electrical wiring issue and can be fatal.
Knowledge of health and safety is essential for landlords renting out properties. Part of ensuring a healthy and safe property is proper repair and maintenance. One of the airbnb landlord's responsibilities is rental repair and maintenance, which requires year-round vigilance, requiring significant time and money.
Airbnb protects hosts through payment if guests fail to repair or replace damaged items or property. However, hosts must pay for routine maintenance, including replacing fire alarm batteries, changing air filters, and addressing other forms of wear-and-tear to avoid costly repair costs.
While you cannot avoid issues with property rentals since things can happen at any time, you must proactively address issues before they can get serious by following a proper maintenance schedule. Remember, regular rental maintenance is not just about preventing expensive repairs - but is also about guaranteeing a pleasant, comfortable, and safe living environment for Airbnb guests.
The maintenance should include checking for leaks, especially after heavy rainstorms and significant snowmelt. Water damage is one of the most common issues that landlords face. Part of the maintenance should be to regularly replace air filters and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If possible, landlords should maintain regular checking for pests. Re-caulking tubs and showers is also necessary to prevent leaks and moulds.
Hosts must conduct repairs immediately after they receive reports of possible damages since some tenants will try to carry out the repairs, further causing problems.
As an Airbnb host, you do not always need to pay for someone to handle the repairs or maintenance. You can decide to conduct maintenance and repair if you believe you are capable. Some maintenance tasks the hosts can handle include repairing leaks and water damage, pest and rodent control, cleaning gutters, inspecting the roof for damage, and so on.
Fire in property rentals can cause devastating damage, leaving your unit uninhabitable in only mere minutes, resulting in costly and time-consuming repairs, not to mention significant loss of income. More importantly, fire poses safety risks to tenants' safety. Studies show that the risk of experiencing fire is seven times higher for those living in rented accommodation.
Fire safety should be a priority for every Airbnb host throughout the year, and they must be especially vigilant during the festive season when a fire is a common occurrence. As a property owner, there are numerous legal obligations you need to comply with to ensure that your property rental remains safe against fire.
One is to adhere to the Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations. The legislation aims to protect guests, ensuring they are in a safe environment where furnishings are not likely to inflame from close contact with flammable products like cigarettes or candles. You might not think of your furniture as something to consider when renting out your property through Airbnb. However, when assessing your rental property's safety, there are health and safety rules you need to check. If you ignore this essential safety check and an incident will occur related to this, you can face prosecution.
Every year, authorities warn the public of a spike in house fires due to the increasing use of heating and electrical appliances. If there is a fire in your premises and the government discovered you did not implement proper fire safety on your property rental, they could take legal action against you. Therefore, landlords need to take fire safety seriously.
5.Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
All property rentals should have smoke alarms on every floor used as living accommodation. In addition, the smoke alarms in all rooms should use solid fuels, such as wood-burning stoves or coal fires. For long-term guests, Airbnb hosts should test to ensure the alarms are working from the first day of the tenancy. After that, the guests will be responsible for their safety and conduct regular tests to ensure they work well and replace malfunctioning batteries. It should be the property hosts who will pay for the cost of faulty or broken alarms.
Since October 1st 2022, private and social rentals in the UK must install at least one working smoke alarm per the local legislation. While this has been a legal requirement for private rentals since 2015, it now applies to social housing. Before the amended regulations, landlords should be responsible for testing and installing the alarm, but now, the tenant will be responsible for the repair or replacement during their tenancy.
While it is not a legal obligation for Airbnb hosts to install carbon monoxide detectors (CMD) in the property they are renting out, many guests prefer to stay in properties with the device since it is safer. Installing carbon monoxide detectors in your rental property result in a better customer experience since they will feel more comfortable throughout their stay. As a result, they will be more than happy to leave positive reviews at the end of their stay.
Carbon monoxide can build up in a property due to the burning of fuels. Properties using traditional fireplaces or wood-burning stoves will be at a higher risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Without detectors, they can face serious consequences. Thus, Airbnb hosts should invest in carbon monoxide detectors.