Safety at home - and insurance
If you’re living away from your family for the first time, it’s important you look after your own safety at home – and insure yourself.
Contents Insurance: don’t even think of going without it! Your landlord is responsible for insuring the premises but you are responsible for insuring your personal belongings.
Student properties are prime targets for burglaries.
Shop around for the right insurance package for your needs.
Popular providers include:
All rented properties should have fire alarms, a fire extinguisher and fire blanket. There should be an adequate means for escape and the design of the building should limit the chances of fire spreading.
Larger properties – such as licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are required to have further fire precautions such as fire doors and emergency lighting as dictated by the local authority’s mandatory licensing scheme.
Gas Safety Certificates
Landlords are legally required to have all gas appliances checked annually. Tenants should be given a copy of the certificate. This is to protect you from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide – an odorless, tasteless, colourless gas which can accumulate from unsafe appliances and can kill.
For information on the dangers of carbon monoxide, visit the Health and Safety Executive gas safety guidance page.
If you have requested a copy of the certificate and your landlord has not provided one, you can report your landlord to the Health and Safety Executive Gas Safety Office on 02920 263000.
For university registered properties, please contact Accommodation Services on 01443 482044 or email Accommodation Services.
Electrical Safety Certificates
Landlords are responsible for ensuring that any electrical appliances supplied with the accommodation are safe. This includes things such as:
- any other electrical appliances.
In Rhondda Cynon Taff (including the Treforest and Pontypridd areas), the local authorities Trading Standards Team do a free visual inspection for landlords every two years and issue a report on the appliances checked. For University registered properties a copy of this certificate must be provided to the Accommodation Office. If you have any concerns about the safety of appliances in your property you can contact them on 01443 425777 or email Rhondda Cynon Taf Trading Standards.
Furniture supplied by the landlord
Any furniture supplied by your landlord must be fire resistant. All new or second hand upholstered furniture sold after 1st September 1990 should meet fire safety regulations and carry a label to say so. If a piece of furniture does not carry such a label saying that it meets the regulations, it’s possible that it does not, and you should ask the landlord to replace it (note: in Rhondda Cynon Taff, soft furnishings are also checked by Trading Standards and are listed on the ‘Schedule B Certificate’).
There are no minimum legal standards for what should be provided in furnished accommodation but you should have a table and chairs, sofa and/or armchairs and storage for clothing in each bedroom, heating systems or appliances, curtains and floor coverings and a fridge and cooker.
Other items like shelves and desks are usually provided. If they are not present and if they are not specifically mentioned in the contract, the landlord can refuse to provide any additional items.
For further information visit the Rhondda Cynon Taf Housing web page.
For information about the local Police and PCSO, as well as other crime fighting initiatives please take a look at Ourbobby.com
Have a look at the Glamlife page about Crime prevention and personal safety at home
Unexpected callers at the door
You can stop cold callers by putting a sign by your door – for example, you can download No Cold Caller Signs from the Moneysavingexpert.com website. If a stranger is at your door, keep the safety of your home in mind:
- Bogus Callers – Not all thieves break into homes – some will try to talk their way in and steal your property while you are distracted. Quite often, bogus callers will claim to be on official business for large utilities companies (gas, water, electricity or phone), workmen carrying out emergency repairs, or even the Council or the Police. This list is not exhaustive so question why anyone needs access to your house if not by appointment.
- Ask callers for proof of identity – genuine tradesmen should carry an ID card with a photograph. Check the card carefully before admitting the caller to your house – a genuine caller will not mind waiting if you want to ring his company for verification.
- If you are unsure of a caller’s identity, don’t let them in. Ask the caller to come back at a later time with proof of identity and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return.
- If suspicious – make a note of their description and report the incident to the police.
We've added a list of popular social bookmarking on our pages - it is not a complete list, but the same selection of sites that the BBC have identified as being useful to a UK audience.
If you already have an account with one or more of these services, you can use the links automatically. If not, you can sign up for free with any of them.