Consumer advice information

Information is available from the Trading Standards Institute to help consumers. Please note the county council is not responsible for this information.

Product safety in rented accommodation for tenants

In the guide

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

As a tenant, you have the right to expect that furniture, gas appliances and electrical equipment in rented furnished accommodation are safe. The landlord is legally responsible for ensuring these products meet safety standards, although they may have contracted the management of the accommodation to a letting agent.

There are specific safety regulations that cover certain types of products. For all other products, both new and second-hand, the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 apply.

This guide explains how key safety legislation applies to products in rented accommodation.

Upholstered furniture

When you rent accommodation that you have not rented before, the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 set out requirements for the safety of any upholstered furniture supplied. These Regulations were introduced to reduce the number of people killed and injured by toxic fumes given off when some upholstery materials burn. They cover any furniture that includes upholstery (unless it was made before 1950) - for example:

  • sofas and armchairs
  • beds, headboards and mattresses
  • sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles
  • nursery and children's furniture (including pushchairs and prams)
  • loose and stretch covers for furniture
  • scatter cushions, seat pads and pillows
  • furniture in new caravans
  • garden furniture that can be used indoors

The Regulations do not apply to:

  • bed clothes and pillowcases
  • loose covers for mattresses
  • curtains and carpets
  • sleeping bags

However, it is important to note that these products are covered under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

Upholstered furniture generally must have:

  • covers that resist ignition from a match flame test
  • upholstery that resists ignition from a smouldering cigarette test
  • filling materials that pass an appropriate ignitability test
  • permanent labelling to show compliance

Check to see that a permanent label is present as this is the best way to show compliance. The label must be securely attached to the furniture and in the case of a set of furniture be attached to each individual piece.

There are two versions of a permanent label. One giving full information about the furniture or a shorter label giving only the minimum information. Most furniture should have a label entitled 'CARELESSNESS CAUSES FIRE'. An example of a short label is given below:

Batch / ID No: AX1234
To comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations:

This article does not include a Schedule 3 interliner.

All foams, fillings and composites have been tested to ensure
compliance with the relevant ignitability test. All covers and
fillings have been tested to ensure they are cigarette resistant.

All covers have been tested to ensure they are match resistant.
Further details are available from your retailer.

Mattresses and bed bases are not required to have this type of label but, to show that they comply with the ignitability tests, they may have a label stating compliance with BS 7177:'Specification for resistance to ignition of mattresses, mattress pads, divans and bed bases'. This label has a blue border, the word 'RESISTANT' in white lettering, and black cigarette and flame symbols.

It is not compulsory for used furniture supplied in rented accommodation to bear a permanent label. For your own safety and peace of mind it is advisable to accept only furniture that does or ask for written confirmation if it is not labelled.

Electrical equipment and installation safety standards 

All electrical equipment, whether it is new or second-hand, that is supplied with rented accommodation must be safe.

New electrical equipment must comply with the requirements of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016, which include the following:

  • essential characteristics must be marked on the electrical equipment or on an accompanying document in a way that allows you to use it safely and properly
  • electrical equipment and any components must be made in such a way that they can be safely and properly assembled and connected
  • people and any pets must be protected against hazards, such as physical injury or other harm caused by direct or indirect contact
  • must operate at a safe temperature and be suitably insulated to protect against electric shock
  • must have adequate protection against hazards caused by external influences, such as environmental conditions
  • electrical equipment must meet expected mechanical requirements so that people, pets and property are not endangered
  • any overload must not endanger people, pets or property
  • electrical equipment must have a correctly fitted fused plug that conforms to the relevant British Standard/safety provisions

Electrical equipment must be CE-marked to show that it complied with European Union safety requirements:

CE mark

Under these regulations, the landlord has a number of duties, which include ensuring the electrical equipment bears a CE mark, checking it is properly labelled, has instructions for use and that safety information is provided.

Landlords in England must comply with the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. These regulations cover fixed electrical installations and do not apply to electrical equipment. Landlords must:

  • ensure that electrical safety standards are met whilst you occupy the premises
  • arrange for every electrical installation to be inspected and tested at regular intervals (no more than five years or less if the most recent report specified a shorter interval) by a qualified and competent person
  • carry out the first inspection and test before the first tenancy commences or by 1 April 2021 in relation to an existing tenancy
  • obtain a report that gives the results of the inspection and test and the next due date
  • give a copy of the report to you as the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test, to a new tenant before they occupy the premises and any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a written request

For more information on electrical safety visit the Electrical Safety Council website.

Gas appliances  

New gas appliances, such as cookers and fires in rented accommodation, must comply with EU Regulation 2016/426 on appliances burning gaseous fuels, which is enforced in the UK through the Gas Appliances (Enforcement) and Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2018. These Regulations do not apply to second-hand appliances and fittings even if they have been reconditioned or repaired.

Gas appliances must:

  • be designed and constructed so that they operate safely and are not dangerous to people, domestic animals and property when used normally
  • be accompanied by instructions for use and servicing 
  • carry appropriate warning notices that also appear on the packaging
  • have a smooth ignition and re-ignition process
  • be designed and constructed so that, when used normally, they do not cause a concentration of carbon monoxide or other harmful substances that are dangerous to people and domestic animals
  • not reach dangerous temperatures if they are intended to be installed or placed near surfaces
  • not have parts, which are intended to be handled during normal use, that reach dangerous temperature

Gas appliances must be CE-marked (see above) to show that they comply with European Union safety requirements. 

The landlord has a number of duties, which include ensuring the gas appliance is CE marked and that is it accompanied by instructions and safety information.

Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 landlords must ensure any gas appliances (including LPG cabinet heaters) provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition, including, where relevant, checks on the effectiveness of:

  • the flue
  • the ventilation
  • gas operating pressure
  • gas tightness

These checks should be carried out on each gas appliance / flue at least every twelve months and records kept of the test dates, defects and remedial action taken. Landlords must make this information available to tenants within 28 days of the check being completed and prospective tenants before they move in. They should keep a record of the case safety check until two further checks have been completed.

The installation and maintenance of gas appliances must only be carried out by a fitter on the Gas Safe Register.

  • ask for evidence that each piece of equipment has been recently inspected and tested by a fitter certified by the Gas Safe Register
  • check that all gas appliances are working properly

If you have a problem with obtaining this information, contact the Health and Safety Executive.

Landlords do not have to carry out any checks on gas appliances that are owned by tenants. Tenants are responsible for maintaining and checking their own gas appliances.

Space & ventilation  

A fixed gas fire, space heater or gas water heater (including a gas boiler) of more than 14 kW must not be installed in a room intended to be used as sleeping accommodation unless it is 'room sealed'. If it is below 14 kW, it must be either 'room sealed' or have a safety control designed to shut down the appliance before there is a build-up of dangerous gases.

Mobile cabinet heaters should only be used in rooms where there is sufficient fixed ventilation. They should be fitted with an atmosphere-sensing device to detect poor air quality and shut the heater off. The correct size and type of gas bottle must be used.

Oil heaters

The Oil Heaters (Safety) Regulations 1977 state that oil heaters must carry warnings against:

  • carrying the heater when alight
  • using petrol as a fuel
  • using the heater in an unventilated area
  • using the heater where it may be exposed to draughts
  • filling the heater when it is alight

Oil heaters must be labelled with 'warning' or 'caution' and self-extinguishing oil heaters must have instructions on resetting and maintenance. The Regulations also state that the oil heater must be designed to be stable, safe if overturned and have a flame regulator that is easily adjustable and accessible.


Building regulations determine that glazing in critical locations (800 mm above floor level for internal walls and partitions, 1500 mm above floor level in a door or a side panel that is next to the door and in bathroom areas) should either break in a safe manner, resist impact without breaking or be shielded or protected from impact.

If new building work has been carried out, check with the letting agent or landlord to establish whether appropriate safety glazing was incorporated. If glazing in critical locations has been replaced, check that safety glass was used.

Other products

Products that do not have to comply with product-specific safety regulations and products that are second-hand (including second-hand electrical equipment and gas appliances) must comply with the General Product Safety Regulations 2005. These Regulations place duties on producers and distributors (such as a landlord) to supply products that are safe for consumers when used in a normal or reasonably foreseeable way. The characteristics of a product (how it is made, packaging and any instructions for assembly), the effect of the product on other products it is used with, its presentation (labelling, warnings and any instructions for use and disposal) and the types of consumers using the product are all important factors when deciding if a product is safe.

This means that products supplied by the landlord as part of the tenancy must be safe - for example, lawnmowers and trimmers should have guards in place, ironing boards should not have sharp edges that could cause injury in normal use. Chairs and stepladders should be durable and safe.

Instructions or warning labels should be available to ensure that appliances can be used safely.

The landlord is responsible for installing smoke alarms on each floor of the rented property and carbon monoxide detectors in rooms where solid fuel, such as a coal fire or wood burning stove, are used. Alarms and detectors must work when they are installed and the landlord must make sure they are in working order when each new tenancy starts.

Key legislation

Last reviewed / updated: July 2020

Please note

This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.

The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.

For further information in England and Wales contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 2231133. In Scotland contact Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000. Both provide free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues.

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The county council is not responsible for this information.