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Important: new smoke alarm legislation landlords should be aware of

What do the new regulations mean for landlords?

On 14 September 2015, parliament approved the new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 – a piece of legislation that comes into force on 1 October 2015. The regulations will require private landlords, or agents acting on their behalves, to ensure the following in their rental properties which are used wholly or partly as living accommodation:

  • One smoke alarm fitted on each floor;
  • A carbon monoxide alarm fitted in any room where a solid fuel burning appliance is used (i.e. wood burners, open fires etc.).

There is no grace period for landlords to fit the above alarms. Those who fail to comply will face penalties of up to £5,000.

 

Why have the regulations been introduced?

During the House of Lords debate, Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning.”

 

Who’s responsible for making sure the alarms are working?

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis explained that setting “a minimum standard for the testing and installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will reduce the risks that tenants face from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. We estimate that the new regulations will save 26 lives and nearly 700 injuries per year. The regulations aim to save lives and not catch landlords out.”

Once the above alarms have been installed, landlords or their agents must ensure that the alarms are working properly at the start of each new tenancy. This means a tenancy starting on or after 1 October 2015 and doesn’t include renewed or statutory periodic tenancies emerging from fixed term tenancies that started before this date. The start of each new tenancy is the date specified in the tenancy agreement, regardless of whether or not the tenant moves into the property on a later date.

Following this first day of testing, tenants are then responsible for ensuring their safety by testing all alarms regularly to make they’re in working order.

 

For further information on how to remain compliant and avoid any penalties, call 020 7078 0214 to talk to one of our experienced letting agents at Kingsley Hamilton Estates – the name you can trust to provide you with the wealth of knowledge needed to manage your tenancies more easily.