Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Student Advice and Support Service

Housing

Staying safe

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you are living in a shared house of 3 or more unrelated individuals with shared facilities, the landlord has extra legal responsibilities that need to be met. If you are living in a shared house of 5 or more unrelated individuals with shared facilities, the landlord is required to apply for a HMO Licence from Charnwood Borough Council.

You can check if your house is on the register by calling the Loughborough council on 01509 634937. For information on London, please check your local council website. 

Carbon monoxide (CO)

CO has no colour, taste or smell and is extremely poisonous. It can kill quickly without warning.

Gas fires and boilers will produce CO if they are not properly installed and maintained. Look out for signs of poisoning:

  • drowsiness
  • lethargy
  • headaches/migraines
  • sickness
  • chest pains/cough

If anyone in your house has any of these symptoms when using a gas appliance, stop using the appliance until an engineer has checked it. Consult a doctor urgently and mention the possibility of CO poisoning.

It is strongly advisable to fit a CO alarm if one is not already fitted. This will alert you to the presence of CO. Your landlord is legally responsible for supplying a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel source (e.g. wood burner). Failure to comply can lead to a civil penalty being imposed on your landlord of up to £5,000.

Gas safe register

Landlords should have gas appliances serviced at least every 12 months by a Gas Safe Register registered engineer and approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

It is important to ask for a copy of the gas safety certificate at the start of your tenancy. Gas Safety checks are expected to be carried out annually - check the date on the certificate.

This certificate is ESSENTIAL and you should not move into a house that does not have one. Your landlord could face fines of thousands of £££££s if he/she does not have one. For further information please visit: www.gassaferegister.co.uk/

Electrical safety

Your landlord needs to ensure that the electrical installations in their properties, such as wiring, plug sockets, fuse boxes and light fittings are inspected and tested by a registered electrician at least every 5 years. Landlords must provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants and prospective tenants, if requested.

Landlords must also make sure that the installations and all electrical appliances such as cookers, fridges, kettles etc. are safe and pose no risk to you as a tenant.

Signs to watch out for include:

  • Frayed, cut or damaged leads
  • Cracked or damaged cases on plugs or appliances
  • Burn marks on plugs, leads or appliances
  • Blown fuses
  • Loose cord grips in plugs or appliances

If you are unsure about the safety of any electrical appliance, contact your landlord/agent and ask for them to arrange a PAT test on the item.

Furniture and furnishings

All furniture supplied by your landlord must comply with the Fire Safety Regulations: all furniture coverings and fillings should be made from fire resistant materials.

These requirements cover:

  • sofas and armchairs
  • beds, headboards and mattresses, futons
  • loose and stretch covers for furniture
  • cushions and seat pads

Normally, furniture that complies with the regulations will carry a label. If the furniture in your accommodation does not carry a label, it may not comply with the regulations. You should ask your landlord to replace it, unless they can prove otherwise.

Fire safety

Your landlord is legally responsible for supplying smoke alarms on all floors of the property. Failure to comply can lead to a civil penalty being imposed on your landlord of up to £5,000.

Do not remove batteries or cover up the alarms and replace the batteries when needed. If you think your house is not compliant with the law, ask one of our advisers or request that the local fire service or Charnwood Borough Council environmental health inspect the property.

Think ahead and plan an escape route in case the alarm goes off.

You can read also about staying safe in the following extract from our “Guide to living off campus” (click on the image below).