If you’re a landlord of a residential property maintaining a fire alarm should go beyond meeting your legal requirements, it actually plays a large part in keeping your tenants happy and, more importantly, safe …
So a few weeks ago, when we were asked to quote for a rental property, at least the landlord understood their responsibility. Our quotation was to include Portable appliance testing, the Annual service of the emergency lighting and the fire alarm panel.
“We were contacted by the client, told we could do the PAT Testing, but they found someone cheaper to do the rest!”
I explained that the original price quoted was if as requested we were attending the site to carry out all three parts of the testing, so we had to reissue the quote which was agreed and confirmed.
On the day of the testing, we arrived at the time stipulated and started the PAT testing. Although we are used to working in rental properties it would have been nice if the tenants had some idea of what was the landlord’s property. After all, I don’t have a 6th sense where I know what belongs to who!
A few minutes later, there’s a knock at the door and I hear someone say that they’re here to service the emergency lighting and fire alarm panel.
It’s quite strange how workmen carrying out different testing are happy to talk to each other, so I curiously asked what he was doing (of course I already knew). He told me he was carrying out the annual service of the emergency lighting and fire panel.
Explaining that I was there to do the PAT Testing I asked how long he planned to be as the tenant had just left in a taxi. He informed me that he would be about an hour, if that, which did surprise me.
“He was already getting the pass certificates out of his bag!”
Now, what did shock me was that the annual service of an emergency lighting system requires it to be shut down then operated under emergency conditions for a minimum of 3 hours. Well, that was what I was led to believe when I attended and passed my ICEL Emergency Lighting course! So how can he tell me that he could do the test in about an hour?
Incorrectly maintained fire alarms can cause nuisance for both the tenants and landlord as they may be more susceptible to false alarms. This can result in costly out of hours callout charges, especially if there is no servicing agreement present. For the landlord, where problems persist with the alarm, there’ll be an effect on future letting and existing tenants.
In addition, rental properties are now required to have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms fitted, so again landlords should be aware of this change to legislation which comes into force later this year.
“Better to do it now than later!”
If you’re a landlord and want to know more about your legal requirements when letting a property, or would like us to PAT Test your appliances or properly test your emergency lighting and fire alarms, call on 0330 6600264 or click here to send an email and I’ll be in touch.
Until next time …