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News update for Landlords

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Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Draft Regulations

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 are expected to come in to force on 1 October 2015. Although the Regulations have not yet actually been passed, because there will be no period of grace for compliance, we would advise ensuring compliance by the 1 October 2015 to try and avoid any possible problems.

The aim of the regulations is to reduce the number of injuries or deaths from smoke or carbon monoxide poisoning in the private rented sector.

In order to ensure compliance, landlords of all rental properties (subject to a limited number of exemptions, such as properties where there is a resident landlord) will need to:-

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on each storey of a rental property that is used wholly or partly as living accommodation. This applies to all rental properties, not just those with tenancies beginning after 1 October 2015.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used wholly or partly as living accommodation, that contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance (including coal or wood burning fires and wood burning stoves). The installation of carbon monoxide alarms is a requirement for all rental properties with solid fuel appliances, not just those with tenancies beginning after 1 October 2015.
  • Carry out testing to make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in full working order on the first day of each new tenancy which begins on 1 October 2015 or thereafter. There is no requirement however to check existing alarms in tenancies that are continuing or renewed. We would recommend that landlords keep evidence of the testing, for example as an entry on the inventory, preferably signed by the tenant to avoid the risk of any arguments about the issue later down the line.
  • Whilst gas appliances are not currently covered by the Regulations, landlords may be best advised to also install carbon monoxide detectors in properties powered by gas or oil fired appliances.

We would suggest including a term in tenancy agreements requiring tenants to check the alarms at least once a month, to replace batteries where necessary and to report any other faults to the landlord.

In the event of non-compliance, a landlord can ultimately face a penalty charge of up to 5,000. For that reason and indeed those of health and safety, careful attention should be given to the requirements of these new Regulations.

The draft Regulations can be viewed at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2015/9780111133439/regulation/4

For advice on landlord and tenant matters, please contact Emma Morris or Louise Walker on 01904 624185.

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