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Podcast Ep. 42 - 6 Must Have Certificates for your HMO

**Podcast Transcript**


Hello, and welcome to another episode of the essential property podcast with your host me Amanda Woodward. And today we are takinga deep dive short episode on safety certificates for HMOs. Now, what's your thinking about this? It's hardly those riveting of subjects. Yes,I understand. But it is one of the most important subject. So today we're going to go through five he certificates that every HMO needs plusanother bonus certificate, I guess at the end, which I don't think many landlords have that they need to be aware of. So your key five, plusone extra before we finished. So you have an HMO, you need to make sure that HMO is safe for everybody living inside. You need to makesure that it complies with the local authorities, HMO regulations. And that's whether it is licenced or not. That's where most landlords slip up, they think, Oh, I don't have a licenced HMO. Do I really need to do these things? The answer is yes you do. Okay. If you speak to localauthority, they will want your non licenced HMO running at the same regulations as your licenced HMO in our eyes. Now, there isn't reallyany different.

One is a licenced one doesn't both have the same fire and safety regulation. So number one,

we all need a gas certificate you should know that if you're listening to this episode, on over 100 properties of ours we only have two propertiesthat are electric only All the rest have gas and every year they need to have their gas CPE certificate completed. Please do not get this confused with a service or service on your boiler is different. It's extra. And it's not compulsory, your gas safety certificate isn't compulsory, your services needed to invalidate your boilers warranty. And we would recommend that you do that every year. Also, the second thing, electrical installation certificate, or your five yearly electrical safety certificate. So every five years, we have to ensure that the electrics aresafe, and they are up to current regulation. If you've just done an installation, you would receive your installation certificate, and that's valid for five years. If you're past the five year period, then you need to redo that effectively to make sure that the electrics are still safe. Anychanges that need to be done, your electrician can do and then issue you have a new certificate.

Okay, so number one gas number two electrics and that's the you know the safety certificates that every property in the UK needs nevermind if it's a HMO. But there are another three certificates that I think a lot of landlords don'tbother doing, either because they don't want to pay for it, or because they don't really know that they're needed, but they are needed. And they're really, really important. We make sure that all of our landlords have the certificate up to date. And if they don't want to come on boardwith us, we get them scheduled into make sure they are up to date as quickly as possible.

The third one is your fire alarm system or your smoke alarm system. Now, the reason I call them two different names is if you've got a property that's on two storeys, you've got a smokedetector in every room, you've got a smoke detector in the communal areas, they are interlinked with a battery backup, which is the minimum that's needed, then you will service that annually. Okay, so our electrical contractor comes in, he puts like a fake smoke into the smoke alarms, we check that they sound. He also ensures that if one sounds, they all sound and they all interlink. And Lee, who does a lot of ourservice and says one of the biggest faults that he finds on our servicing, is that each smoke detector is working, but they're not alwaysinterlinked. And you can imagine a fire in room five needs to alert the guests in room one for this buyer. And if they don't, one might not hearthe smoke alarm in room five. So we have to make sure that they're interlinked. So he's testing that they weren't. He's testing that they'reinterlinking. He's testing that the smoke heads are actually still in date because they do have an expiry date. Some will last five years, thenew lithium battery smoke alarms will last for 10 years. At some point they would need to be changed also. So he's also checking that he'schecking that they're connected correctly. There isn't any loose wires, etc, etc. So every year we have the comfort to know that Lee haschecked all the smoke alarms, they're all interlinked. They're all working. He issues an annual Service certificate, all that meeting the Britishstandard. And then throughout the year as managing agents, we're then testing the smoke alarms by doing the Push Button test on a monthly basis. And we're testing a different one each time just to make sure that they generally work. But what we're not doing is changing batteries and checking wiring and checking into linking because whilst we are competent, we are not qualified to confirm if that's the case.So your third certificate is your smoke alarm certificate. If you have what I call a fire alarm system, your property is on three storeys or more.It's a large building, you have a panel based fire alarm system where you have heads in the room, and you have the control panel on the ground floor by the front door that needs to be serviced every six months. Okay. So six months later, his team will come in, or some of theother larger companies that we use for some of the larger buildings. And they will be not just testing whether the smoke alarms were up tosmoke, but also if they react to heat that often have like a hairdryer type contraption to see if that goes off their chicken. Of course, if they'reinterlinking through the loop system, they're also checking that the panel was working. Are there any thoughts on the panel is the panelidentifying that there is Cya in the relevant areas where we do the test are the sound is loud enough that doing decibel testing, because it's allgreat that a fire alarm sounds but what if it's not to the minimum sound level and actually you can't hear it throughout the building, so they do amore thorough test. And that's due every six months. So as a recap, we have a gas certificate, we've got our electrical certificate, then wehave our smoke alarm slash fire alarm certificate.

Certificate number for emergency lighting, if you have a building that the local authoritydeem all building rigs deem the unit to have emergency lighting on the escape route to safely exit the building, then that needs to be servicedevery six months also. So an emergency lighting test takes place whereby the electrician will ensure that the emergency lighting onceactivates remains on for three hours that I don't know about you. But if I'm in a property and the fire alarm sounds, I will be exiting that buildingvery quickly, more likely three seconds or three minutes, but certainly not three hours. But the emergency lighting doesn't need to stand forthree hours for it to be valid for a certificate. If it doesn't, then the lights will need changing and a new certificate being issued. And that'sdone every six months.

Okay, so that's certificate number four. certificate number five is your portable appliance testing. So if you have any appliance that is deemed portable, and that means it operates on a plug rather than on something that is hard wired. So a hob is not portable, an oven isn't portable, but a microwave is a kettle is a fridge freezer and a washing machine are. So we do heat or house fires originating from fridgesthat kind of blow up or spark gases inside audible appliances that are all at high risk. So they have to be tested. And that test takes placeannually as well. This gives us a good opportunity to go through the entire property into all the rooms if there's a lamp next to the bed that needs testing as an exam. So when we have a look at that, if you look at Magpie view as a landlord, you know every year that yourboiler is safe. You know, every five years that your electrics are safe between every six months to a year, you know that your smokealarms are working, your emergency lighting is working, all of your appliances are safe. That's a great place to be as a landlord knowing that you're providing good safe quality properties for your tenants to sleep in. And sleeping accommodation is the most high risk type ofaccommodation. Because when you're doing a fire risk assessment if your fire risk assessing a shop, for example, even if your fire riskassessing a food location, a restaurant as an example, a takeaway shop seven accommodation is still deemed the highest risk accommodation because you need to alert people to exit a building whilst they are sleeping.

It's a lot easier to notice a fire whilst you're awake and run out of the building is a lot more

difficult to do that when you're asleep. So it is higher risk. So the different number six on my bonus certificate, I guess, is a fire riskassessment. Now we've been starting to talk to our landlords about fire risk assessments more and more over the last couple of years.And I'll be honest with you, we got asked for a fire risk assessment for a building about five or six years ago, it was a licenced HMO. And Isaid Come on, do we really need a fire risk assessment? And I was contacting different companies and they were charging upwards of 500pounds to provide it. We needed to provide it to a care company at the time who is taking over our building. And I saw Do we really need itbut the reality Tea is in this day and age 100%, we need it 100% We need it. So if you apply for a HMO licence with crew Council fisheriesCouncil, and you're one of our landlords, I receive an email from the head of housing that says, Amanda, just to remind you that you arethe responsible person for this building, you are responsible to ensure that the people in their property are aware of what to do in the event of a fire. And you are responsible for maintaining a fire safety plan for that building via a fire risk assessment. Okay, though content is exactly the same, we have to have this documentation on file to say that a competent person, a qualified company has been to theproperty and assessed all the risks of that building, have summarised those risks have shared the with us so we can then monitor and maintain the safety of that building. Okay, and only a competent or qualified person can analyse what those risks are. So for example, tohave somebody in a building, who is disabled, that needs to be on the fire risk assessment, to have somebody in that building that doesn't speak English needs to be on the fire risk assessment. If you have a property that has a bathroom at the back of a kitchen, that needs to be on the fire risk assessment, we need to establish all the different risks that are associated with that property. And then how do we then monitor those risks? And how do we check back in to make sure that we ensure that building is safe, having lots of shoes on the landing ofa property is a risk is a risk of people running out of that building in the event of a fire tripping over the shoes of pulling down the stairs as




so certificate number six. Now, this is something that we don't have across all of our properties, we just don't you know, it's something that's relatively new in terms of rolling it out on smaller buildings. So we're starting to do that we've done a whole bunch of them already. And we're starting to contact our landlords to say yes, I know, it's another cost. And I know we're trying to, you know, focus on our cash flow, but we have to focus on the safety of the tenants, we've got to make sure that we comply with regulations. So if you have a fire in that property, whether it was started accidentally, or whether it was something that was started by sort of misuse by a tenant, as soon as a landlord is involved in that property, the fire service, I say, Okay, where's your certificate? Show meyour gas search me electrical? Sir. Have you packed tested your appliances? Is it in day? When did you last test your smoke alarms? Whyisn't the emergency lighting working? When did you last test your emergency lighting? And was responsible for this building? And is therea fire risk assessment in place? They're going to be asking questions and pointing fingers. So not to scare you, but just to inform you whichI think is the best place to be. They are the six things that we need to have in place from a safety standpoint, to operate a HMO. If you'relistening to this and thinking oh my goodness, I didn't know about that. I haven't got some of these things in place. Well, don't panic. Justcontact your agent or contact your local contractors and arrange to book them in. They're fairly low cost. Okay, a fire risk assessment sub500 pounds, your gas safety certificate, 100 pounds, your smoke alarm testing sub 250 pounds. So yes, they do all add up, but across theyear to ensure that your property is safe and compliant. They are fairly low costs. And you should be reaching out to as I say, either youragent or your contractors to get them in place ASAP, you then need to present them on the notice board, your tenant needs to be aware that you have the certificate. So the notice board needs to be up to date with that information. And you can sleep at night. And I think that's the most important thing. Okay? We love the fact that we own property, and that we have tenants in there that are paying our mortgages that are generating cash flow for us on a monthly basis, the minimum that we can do is ensure that when they're sleeping inside our properties, they are comfortable, they're safe. I hope you found that useful. And I look forward to sharing more with you on future episodes.




We hope you enjoyed today's episode and if so, please hit subscribe and share with those who you think would enjoy it too. To get in touch with Paul and Amanda directly. Please visit their website www dot essential property For more information we look forward to sharing with you on the next episode.

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