Lauren O’Connor works with Zoro, a retailer that stocks all of the tools and personal protective equipment you might need when renovating a property. Here, she outlines five health and safety considerations for when you’re updating a house or flat you’re planning to rent out.

There are health and safety issues you need to consider when renovating any property. But, there are some extra things you need to keep in mind when updating a house or flat that you’re planning to rent out.

Here, I’m going to outline how you can keep yourself safe when revamping a rental property, and how you can ensure you’re creating a risk-free environment for your tenants to live in. Read on to learn everything you need to know.

Always use the right tools for the job

This might seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many people don’t follow this advice: you should always ensure you have the right tools for the job you’re doing. This means you should never tighten screws with a knife, or knock nails into a wall with anything other than a hammer. Not only will using the wrong tools in your work mean you can’t complete tasks to the highest possible standard, but it could also be quite dangerous.

If you don’t already have a tool kit, or you think yours may be missing some vital parts, Popular Mechanics has a guide to assembling the perfect toolbox that outlines exactly what you should have at hand. However, every time you start to plan a project or buy a flatpack piece of furniture, you should check that your kit has everything necessary, and buy whatever extras you need. Over time, this will help you to create a collection of tool that can help you to complete any DIY task.

Handle any tools you use properly

It’s not enough to create a kit of all the tools you’ll need to renovate your rental property: you’ll also need to know how to use them. This will greatly reduce the risk of you having an accident while you’re working on any updates.

Power tools will come with their own set of instructions, and you should always follow these to the letter. As the name would suggest, these tools can be incredibly powerful, and you want to keep them under your control at all times. Using them carefully but confidently (after reading their manuals) is the best way to go.

Basic hand tools tend to be more self-explanatory, but should still come with a small set of instructions. If you’re unsure about anything, it’s best to research the tools you’re using and watch video tutorials about how to use them. This should help you to avoid making any major mistakes, and will also help you to stay safe.

Make sure you’re always wearing the appropriate PPE

While you might not be a professional builder, decorator, or electrician, when carrying out tasks around your property, it’s vital that you wear the same personal protective equipment as they would.

Specialist face masks can help to filter dust and chemicals from the air you breathe, so should always be worn if you’re having serious building work done — for example, if you’re knocking one of your property’s walls down. It’s also a good idea to wear a face mask if you’re using spray paint or any chemical that could be hazardous if inhaled.

Also, dropping even a light object on your foot from a height could break your toes, or worse. So, to avoid any injuries like this, I would recommend investing in some protective footwear — preferably with steel toe caps.

Some tasks will also require protective eye wear. For example, you’ll want to keep dust out of your eyes if you plan to saw wood with a power tool, and goggles can prevent the likes of spray paint from getting in your eyes, too.

Enlist the help of a professional when you aren’t confident

If you have never been a professional handyman, there will be times when you’re renovating your property and find that you aren’t confident about a particular task. In this situation, I would always recommend asking a professional for help.

Jobs involving electrics can be particularly dangerous if you’re not sure what you’re doing. So, to reduce the risk of accidents and ensure your tenants don’t encounter any problems when they move in, ask an electrician for help if you come across a task you’re not totally confident about.

This can apply to anything you don’t have a lot of experience with. If you need any plumbing, building, or even decorating work done and you’re not sure you’re going to do the best job possible, it’s definitely worth enlisting professional help. It might cost a little bit more, but it will help to prevent a lot of issues along the line.

Check that any changes don’t break health and safety rules

As a landlord, there will be a variety of health and safety rules you need to abide by. Before new tenants move in to your property, you should always ensure that these are being adhered to, and that any renovations you arrange won’t change this.

Depending on the set up and layout of your property, there may be specific guidelines or even laws you need to follow with regards to smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and adequate means of escape in case of an emergency. Plus, all electrical appliances much be safe to use, and the furniture in your rental property will have to meet the appropriate fire resistance regulations. The government has a guide to landlords’ safety responsibilities that you should read before updating your property.

When renovating a rental property, you should ensure that all tasks are carried out as safely as possible, and that you’re creating a risk-free environment for your future tenants to live in. So, remember to always use the right tools for the job, call on a professional when you need help, and ensure you’re abiding by the appropriate health and safety rules. This will greatly reduce the risk of you encountering any problems along the way.  

Lauren O’Connor (Zoro)

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