Safety comes first – especially with renting out an apartment
Any property needs to be a safe one for its occupants and more so if you are renting out an apartment. It will be your responsibility to see that tenants are not exposed to risk or health hazards, as you will be held responsible for any shortcomings or incidents. We strongly advise that you rather spend some money in ensuring that your apartment is compliant with all the safety regulations and rules and that you get the necessary certificates to prove this. IMPORTANT: Also remember that insurance companies will not entertain any excuses in the event of any claims lodged by you if your property falls short of what is required by law or their own conditions as set out in the fine print of the policy issued to you.
Here are some things to look out for:
This was once popular construction material in older buildings, especially for roof panels, walls, and insulation, but can be found anywhere. It is toxic, carcinogenic, and causes permanent lung damage, and can be found in almost all buildings prior to 2000. Make sure your property has been checked, cleared, and cleaned of any possible traces of asbestos.
Mould and damp
Although seldom deadly, mould can have a huge impact on the quality of life for asthma sufferers, infants, or the elderly. This is a huge problem in Malta and both the landlord and/or tenant can be guilty of the occurrence of either or both. If it’s due to construction issues, the onus falls on the landlord to address this. Determine whether tenants refuse to encourage proper ventilation such as allowing periodical airflow by opening windows regularly, whether extractor fans are working properly, or simply whether surfaces are cleaned and wiped with anti-mould products to discourage outbreaks. Something as simple as a diluted solution/mixture of bicarbonate of soda or vinegar with water is effective in prohibiting the growth of mould.
Having running water is a basic right and is needed for many other reasons besides personal hygiene. The lack of proper or faulty supply can lead to disease, infestation, and illness. It is a landlord’s responsibility at all times to keep water and sanitation in good order and any leaks need to be repaired as soon as possible, especially in the case of sanitation.
This is a critical one. Landlords are responsible for the maintenance of any supply and appliances included with the property. An annual inspection needs to be done by a qualified professional with accompanying certificates issued. Any new tenants need to be supplied with a compliance certificate as soon as they have signed the agreement, if not before.
Tenants need to have a full inventory of all items checked, approved for use, their location, any repairs are done, recommendations, and the date and time of the next inspection. Also provide your tenants with emergency numbers in case they need it, including your own.
It’s a good idea to also supply tenants with a step-by-step list of what to do in case of an emergency.
Another critical one: We advise all landlords to have a property fully inspected and certified as compliant before moving in a new tenant. Instruct tenants to, at any stage during their occupancy, call you at the slightest sign of a problem as a refusal to do so or reluctance to act on it will have you as a landlord bear the full brunt of the law. Electrical safety is paramount by law.
Any reluctance to address the issues of the aforementioned gas and electrical safety can lead to a fire or even an explosion. New laws require furniture and upholstery, carpets, curtains, in fact, any items in the property to be constructed of fire or flame-retardant materials. Check manufacturer’s labels when buying new and apply coatings as approved by law to existing items or replace any of the items you are supplying. Landlords are not responsible for tenant’s possessions including furniture. All properties must have a smoke detector and alarm installed, plus regularly serviced fire extinguishers.
As a landlord you are responsible to hand over a property to a tenant that has no loose tiles, nails sticking out, broken windows, leaking pipes, broken handrails, dangerous stairs, rotten wood, exposed wires, etc. The same goes for leaning walls, loose bricks, and more.
If you keep your property in tip-top shape and compliant and attend to any issues as soon as possible, you will be ensured of a happy and paying-on-time tenant. Properties that are well maintained also rent out easier and attract a better client demographic. It is thus in your best interest to look after your investment regularly as it will then pay the dividends you expect.
Need help with furnishing or updating your rental property?
A member of our Home Interiors team, together with one of our Letting Consultants, can come over to get a feel of the property. We will be able to put together a list of what is required to freshen up the space, together with a cost estimate. Once approved our handymen can take care of carrying out any dirt works required, whilst our home interiors can help you source any furniture or finishing needed.
The result? Your property will be prepped up to achieve the best rental return possible, ensuring a timely, cost-effective and hassle-free process for you.