LANDLORD’S GUIDE TO FIRE SAFETY – PART 4

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The fourth & final part of our guide to Fire Safety for Landlords! Check out Part 1 , Part 2 & Part 3 right here!

This final part of our  4 part series covers furnishings and fire risk assessments which landlords need to arrange.

Fire Risk Assessments

Completing a fire risk assessment allows landlords to identify potential risks in their rental property. Those landlord with HMO must conduct a fire risk assessment under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Although landlords can complete this themselves, it’s advised to get a professional to carry out a fire risk assessment on the landlord’s behalf.

Either way, as the responsible person, landlords will be held accountable for carrying out a fire risk assessment. The aim of the assessment is to identify fire hazards, reduce the risk to those living in the property and decide precautions to ensure the safety of tenants. Using the report, landlords can then act to make the property as safe as possible.

A fire risk assessment will identify emergency evacuation plans and any fire doors needed. The evacuation route will likely be the usual way in and out of the home. Typically, this is the front door and hallway. This means that the front door must be easy to open from the inside. Depending on the type of door and lock, this would mean that the property must have a pushdown handle or a thumb turn latch. To make sure that the evacuation route remains safe, all rooms should have fire doors fitted to ensure any fires are contained in one room. The advantage of this is that damage to the property and risks to the tenants are limited. The doors must be of solid construction and have self-closing mechanisms.

Landlords can also fit the doors with intumescent strips and door seals. These expand in extreme heat to create a barrier and stop the fire and smoke from spreading. This gives the residents more time to react in the event of a fire and keep risks to a minimum. However, tenants must be advised against wedging the doors open. Although a bit expensive, a fire door retainer could be purchased. These hold the doors open and will automatically release and shut the door as soon as it detects the sound of a smoke alarm.

Let but not least, always tell your tenants what the evacuation route is and ensure that they don’t block it up!

Five things you didn’t know about toilet paper….

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Although National Toilet Paper day was last month, we thought we’d pass on some useful facts about toilet paper that you can use for your next pub quiz!

Useful Toilet Paper Fact #1

Toilet paper is really, really old – like 6th century AD old. It was also recored as being used in medieval China!

Useful Toilet Paper Fact #2

By the early 14th century, in the modern day Chinese province of Zhejiang alone, ten million packs of toilet paper were being produced.

Useful Toilet Paper Fact #3

Marketing changed the game and Joseph Gayetty (an inventor) is widely credited with the invention of modern commercially available toilet paper, which was introduced in 1857.

Useful Toilet Paper Fact #4

Toilet paper is big business. Today, more than seven billions rolls of toilet paper are sold yearly in the US alone.

Useful Toilet Paper Fact #5

Toilet paper is prone to innovation, with a toilet paper available that is made from rapidly renewable plant-based fibres such as wheat and bamboo!

Try these 7 home made cleaning products TODAY!

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We all have our favourite cleaning products that we like to use (Viakal springs to mind!). However, you can’t get away from the benefits of homemade cleaning products, so we’ve listed below 7 of the easiest and most commonly found ingredients in your home:

1.Wood polish – lemon juice & olive oil

Wood can easily lose its life and shine, and become stained by everyday items like coffee cups. To restore some beauty to your wooden furniture, use a bowl to mix 2 cups of olive oil with cup of lemon juice. Dip a clean cloth into the mix and apply to wood in circular motions. This has a moisturising effect and can also prevent splits and splinters.

2.Surface cleaner/degreaser – lemon juice

Lemons are naturally antibacterial so combine 1 cup of water with the juice of 2 lemons, and add ½ a cup of white vinegar into a trigger spray bottle. You can also add essential oils  – lavender and orange both work well.

3.Glass cleaner – cider vinegar

Combine 2 cups of water with ½ a cup apple cider vinegar into a trigger spray bottle (you can add a splash of citrus juice for a nice scent!). Once sprayed, use a microfibre glass cloth to clean mirrors, windows and shower doors.

 4.Stainless steel cleaner – olive oil

Use a soft cloth to apply olive oil in a circular motion, and use white vinegar to wipe the surface when you are finished. This works well on the front and hood of stainless steel cookers, kettles and appliances, and kitchen workstation handles.

5.Pan cleaner/degreaser – salt

It’s surprisingly simple to remove burnt on stains from the bottoms of pans and baking tins – just use salt! Pour salt over the area and leave for a few minutes. Scrub the bottom of the pan with a damp sponge and your metal will be clean and grease-free!

6.Bathroom cleaner – grapefruit

Use half a grapefruit and some salt to scrub bathtubs and wall tiles. The abrasive side will remove most tough stains, and will smell lovely afterwards. You’ll also benefit from the natural antibacterial properties. Make sure to rinse afterwards using the showerhead.

7.Fabric softener – white vinegar

White vinegar is excellent at softening fabric and preventing creases. Add about half a cap into your wash – don’t worry, you won’t smell like a chippy!

Happy homemade cleaning!

ATTENTION STUDENTS – Cleaning is the most common cause for deposit deductions.

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Research from Money.co.uk has revealed the most common reasons why students’ deposits are withheld by landlords!

Results from the survey show that cleaning costs and damage to fixtures and fittings are the most common reasons why landlords hold some or all of a student’s deposit.

Data from the research shows that 38% of students will not receive their deposit in full at the end of their tenancy. Of those students, landlords typically keep 29% of their deposit, amounting to an average deduction of £164 each.

Cleaning amounted to over half of landlords’ reasons for not returning a deposit (52%), with students failing to return a property in an acceptable state of cleanliness for a full deposit return.

24% of landlords cited damage to fixtures and fittings as a reason for not returning deposits. Excessive wear and tear (22%) was also a popular reason. However, only 5% cited unpaid bills.

Unsurprisingly, two out of three students felt that their tenancy deposit was retained unfairly. Alarmingly, roughly one-quarter of students did not receive prescribed information on the tenancy deposit scheme their deposit was registered with. One in ten claimed that their landlord did not even protect the deposit! Despite, two-thirds of students claiming that their deposit was held unfairly, only 15% disputed the decision and got money back.

The moral of the story for students is, make sure you keep our digs in a decent state so there’s no reason for the landlord to keep cash at the end of your tenancy!

Seven things you SHOULDN’T keep in your bathroom…

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Out of habit, we store these things in the bathroom without giving it a second thought. However, if you treasure these  items, make sure you move them out of the bathroom NOW and store them somewhere else (not the kitchen ;P):

1.Nail Polish

If you want to extent the two year shelf life that nail polish has, don’t store them in the bathroom where the temperature is always changing. Keep your nail polish somewhere where the room temperature is consistent.

2. Make-Up

AS a rule of thumb, make-up should be stored at room temperature as well so it’s not ideal to store it in the bathroom. Time to invest in a fabulous vanity for your bedroom!

3. Jewellery

Do you put on your favourite ring or necklace as soon as you step out of the shower? If so, make sure you don’t get into the habit of storing them in the bathroom as the humid environment speeds up the oxidation process and makes the jewellery tarnish faster…

4.Towels&Linen

The bathroom is one of those places in a home where mould&mildew grows the fastest so make sure you store your freshor and dry towels and linens in a dry place, like your hall cupboard. Also, make sure you ventilate the bathroom after having a shower to help air out the space and dry damp towels.

 5. Medicine 

Even though it’s called a medicine cabinet, prescription drugs should be kept well away from the bathroom and stored at room temperature. The drugs could loose their effectiveness if they’re not stored in a cool & dry place.

6.Extra Razors

Try not to ruin your razor blades by keeping them in a place that gets humid. Store extras outside the bathroom to stop them from dulling and rusting prematurely, or keep them in a sealable plastic bag for protection!

7. Non-Waterproof Electronics

The iPhone 7 or Samsung may be waterproof, but high humidity makes electronic items susceptible to damage. Therefore make sure you use appliances specifically designed for the bathroom instead

15 AWESOME tips for a super clean home!

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Freshen up every corner of your home with these simple and effective cleaning solutions.

BATHROOM SPARKLE

1. Skip bar soap

Keep your bathroom basin cleaner for longer by using a liquid soap with a pump or a even hands-free soap dispenser instead. Eliminating the grimy soap dish will help your basin and countertop stay goop-free.

2. Make taps gleam

Rub a bit of toothpaste over your bathroom fixtures with a wet sponge to get gunk off chrome.

3. Make your shower sparkle

To clean grimy grout, mix 3/4 cup household chlorine bleach with 2 litres water and use a stiff brush to apply to one small area at a time. Let it sit for several minutes, then scrub and rinse.

4. Hang towels the right way

To keep towels from getting musty in between showers, hang them where they can air-dry thoroughly. A hook is fine, but a towel rail is better.

5. Fight musty smells

Just like in the fridge, an open box of bicarbonate of soda placed near your sheets and towels can prevent a dank linen closet.

KITCHEN GLEAMING

6. Make an easy, all-purpose cleaner

This cleaner recipe will make nearly every surface gleam, especially kitchen counters, appliances, and inside the refrigerator. Combine 4 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda with 1 litre warm water, and use it with a sponge to wipe messes away.

7. De-grease cabinets

Just like your utensils, cupboards can get greasy when you’re making dinner. Add a little washing up liquid to a spray bottle with warm water to mist away the grime. Then, rinse with a well-wrung cloth and dry.

8. Shine copper with ketchup

Yes, ketchup! A little can make copper pots gleam again.

9. Freshen your microwave

Make the interior easier to wipe down by heating a cup of water and a chopped-up lemon on high until the microwave’s window is steamy. Let the bowl sit for 15 minutes before you open the door, and clean away any grime with ease.

10. Zap oven spills

After gently chipping off any loose pieces, liberally spritz burnt-on food with ammonia from a spray bottle. Then sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda and add just a few drops of white vinegar. Let it bubble for a minute or two, then whisk away the grime with a scrub sponge.

11. Get stains out of a cutting board

Run the cut side of a lemon over the board to remove food stains and smells. For extra cleaning power, sprinkle it with salt or bicarb first.

LIVING ROOM SPRUCE-UP

12. Add shine with vinegar

Use white vinegar to brighten your windows. Mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 1 litres of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on and wipe away with a clean microfiber cloth, not paper towels, which can cause streaking.

13. Cover furniture nicks

Got a scuff or a scratch on your wood furniture? Rub it with a walnut (shell removed) to mask the damage.

14. Make a mirror gleam

Since coffee filters are lint-free, you can swap them out for paper towels to give mirrors a no-streak shine.

OUTDOOR REVAMP

15. De-grime patio furniture

Add a squirt of washing-up liquid to a bowl of warm water, and use it to wipe down your outdoor tables and chairs. Then, rinse clean with the garden hose.

LANDLORD’S GUIDE TO FIRE SAFETY – PART 3

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We published Parts 1 & 2 of our guide to Fire Safety for Landlords over the last couple of weeks, check out the details right her for Part 1 & Part 2.

To continue the 4 part series, this part covers furnishings and fire-fighting equipment which landlords need to be aware of.

Furnishings

If you are renting out a furnished property, you must be careful when selecting furniture. All upholstered furnishings must be made from a fire resistant material, and you must not remove the label that confirms this when moving the furniture into the property. However, the Furniture and Furnishings Act 1988 does not apply to carpets or curtains.

You may also want to consider providing your tenants with fire safety advice in their welcome pack. Let them know to be careful of placing a lighted candle near curtains and to not leave any lit objects or appliances unattended. It is also a good idea to ban smoking in your property, to reduce the risk of furnishings catching alight.

Fire-Fighting

Generally, fire-fighting equipment is not required in rental accommodation. However, HMOs must have fire extinguishers on each floor of the building in communal areas. It is also wise to provide a fire blanket and a multipurpose extinguisher for your tenants. These will give them the resources to stop a small fire from getting out of control. And although you don’t expect them to fight a fire, these items could help them make a safe exit.

If you do provide an extinguisher, you must make sure your tenants know how to operate it. Although you might not be able to provide them with training, you can offer basic advice.

You will also need to think about which type of extinguisher to provide. A powder extinguisher is best for different uses, but it can cause a significant amount of damage. You should weigh up the risks and decide whether a foam or water extinguisher might be better suited. But remember, any extinguisher you provide must be serviced every year by a trained technician.