Guidance for Students

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					Guidance for Students in Rented Accommodation Upholstered Furniture Upholstered furniture - fire safety The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 apply fire resistance standards to upholstered furniture. This includes armchairs, sofas, sofa beds, futons, beds and mattresses. Upholstered furniture generally consists of a frame, filling material (usually foam) and a covering fabric. But problems arose when the type of foam filling used during the 70's and 80's was found to give off toxic fumes in the event of a fire. So, since 1988, all upholstered furniture manufactured for the UK must now meet fire resistance standards. This now also applies to upholstered furniture which is supplied in let accommodation. Upholstered furniture in let accommodation Those safety rules also apply to upholstered furniture supplied in residential furnished accommodation which is let in the course of a business. The landlord (or the letting agent) must ensure that any furniture supplied by them to a tenant is safe. From 1 January 1997, any upholstered furniture which is supplied in furnished accommodation under a new lease agreement since that date, or which is replacement or additional furniture under an agreement commencing before that date, must comply. Labelling on upholstered furniture at retail New upholstered furniture sold by retailers must carry two types of labels with fire resistance information 1. A temporary "Display label" attached where customers can see it (does not apply to beds or mattresses) and 2. A "Permanent label", normally sewn into the covering material, indicating that it complies with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988, or that it contains combustion modified (CM) foam and that the covering is match resistant or contains an interliner. However, when that furniture is supplied in let accommodation the labelling is not compulsory - but the furniture must still meet the fire resistance standards. How can I tell whether the furniture is safe? Unfortunately, it's impossible to tell conclusively just by examining it. However, look for the "Permanent label" described above. Beds or mattresses should have a label which indicates compliance with BS 7177. If there is no label Although the labelling is not compulsory when furniture is supplied in let accommodation, it may arouse suspicion if there is no permanent label. In that case, ask your landlord or letting agent to confirm in writing that it complies with the fire resistance standards.

Gas and Electrical appliances - safety in rented accommodation Electrical - Serious injuries can occur from electric shocks and fires caused by unsafe electrical appliances. Gas - Carbon monoxide poisoning, has cost more than 30 lives a year where gas appliances or flues have been incorrectly installed or maintained. Your landlord is legally responsible for making sure that electrical and gas appliances provided to tenants are safe. What should I look for? Electrical - For electrical goods, such as portable heaters & fires, washing machines, fridges, cookers, TV's etc, the landlord should have a record to show that a qualified electrician has inspected them. You should do a visual check yourself to see that cables and plugs are not worn or damaged. There should be no access to live electrical parts. Plugs should have effective cord grips and insulated sleeves on the live and neutral pins. Gas - For gas appliances, the landlord must have an annual check carried out by a qualified CORGI engineer on any gas appliances/fittings and/or flues. By law, a copy of the safety check must be issued by the landlord to tenants and records of each safety check must be kept by the landlord for 2 years. You should check that you have adequate instructions for using gas appliances safely and that they are working properly. It is particularly important that in sleeping areas there is proper ventilation and that automatic gas cut-offs are fitted. The Health & Safety Executive has a Gas Safety Advice Line: 0800 300 363 or visit - Carbon monoxide detectors are a good idea, as are smoke alarms, although your landlord is not legally obliged to provide these. Generally, all goods provided as part of your let should be in a safe condition, but remember that you also have a responsibility to take care of them.

What should I do about any safety concerns in rented accommodation? First, talk to your landlord or letting agent who has responsibility for the safety of goods supplied in your rented property. If you have a query about upholstered furniture in let accommodation within the Stirling Council area contact us. If you live outwith the Stirling Council area, you can find your local Trading Standards service at Trading Standards Central