Risk Assessments Advice for Landlords

When you’re a landlord it’s a good idea to risk assess your property from time to time, to ensure your tenants are living in a safe environment and avoid local authorities stepping in to enforce repairs. This guide is to help landlords looking to risk assess their property.

What are the laws surrounding landlords carrying out risk assessments?

  • Landlords responsible for flats or multiple occupancy houses have a duty under the Fire Safety Order to carry out a risk assessment to judge any fire safety measures that are required.
  • Landlords are required to repair defects in accordance with the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Defective Premises Act, which holds landlord and builders responsible for poorly maintained buildings.

The Government's Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is used by local authorities when assessing the condition of privately rented accommodation. This is therefore an ideal resource to familiarise yourself with some of the potential hazards to look out for.

Using the HHSRS as a guide is beneficial to landlords as it can help you identify and document any issues that need to be fixed under the statutory repairing obligation.

The vulnerability of tenants should also be considered when carrying out a risk assessment, considering for example age and disabilities.

Potential hazards to consider

Electrical hazards, temperature, structural issues and damp or mould are all possible hazards that should be acknowledged and monitored. For a list of 29 potential hazards, along with preventative measures you can take to avoid them, and which groups are especially vulnerable, click here.

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the potential hazards, conducting a survey of your property and documenting any damage you come across is the next step.

For any issues you find, we’d recommend scoring them depending on whether they are a high priority, medium priority or low priority, as this will allow you to prioritise any work that needs doing critically.

What must a risk assessment demonstrate?

An effective risk assessment should demonstrate the following:
That you understand and have identified potential hazards
That you’ve considered who could be at risk
That you have prioritised further action where necessary

After you’ve conducted your risk assessment, hazards should naturally be removed where possible, for example if a structural element is unstable it should be repaired immediately. For less critical issues however, the practicality of decreasing the hazard can be considered alongside the cost of fixing the issue.
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