New regs for smoke and carbon monoxide

Draft regulations for the installation of

smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for

landlords

August 2015

 

Context:

On 11th March 2015 the Housing Minister announced that landlords would

be required to install and check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in

their properties. This is part of the Government’s plans to create a bigger,

better and safer private rented sector.

 

The Changes:

The Government has put forward draft Smoke and Carbon Monoxide

Alarm Regulations (2015) making landlords in the private rented sector

in England responsible for ensuring that smoke and carbon monoxide

detectors are appropriately installed and are in proper working order at

the start of a new tenancy.

NOTE: The Regulations are expected to come into force on 1st October

2015.

 

Eligibility :

The law will apply to landlords renting residential accommodation to one

or more tenants occupying all or part the property as their only or main

place to live.

NOTE: The law will not apply to social landlords.

 

what you need to do:

From the 1st October 2015 landlords will have to ensure that a smoke

alarm is fitted on every floor of their property where there is a room used

wholly or partly as living accommodation. They will also have to put a

carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt, such as

wood, coal or biomass and includes open fires. It does not include gas,

oil or LPG.

Landlords will have to ensure that the alarms work at the start of every

tenancy. For example by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds.

Landlords are also required to demonstrate that the alarms were working

at the start of the tenancy, so it is advisable to get the tenant to sign a

receipt confirming the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working

or ensure it’s in the inventory at check-in which is signed by the tenant.

 

During the tenancy it is a tenant’s responsibility to ensure the alarms

work and it is their responsibility to change the batteries during the

tenancy. However, should the alarms become faulty during the tenancy

landlords are responsible for replacing them.

 

NOTE: Under the proposals a bathroom or lavatory is classed as a

room used for living accommodation and a room covers hall or landing.

Stairways are also included in the regulations. For instance, for

maisonettes or flats above shops where the flat is on the first floor but

you enter via stairs on the ground floor a smoke alarm will be required

in the stairwell.

 

A new tenancy will include agreements entered into on or after 1st

October 2015. It does not include a periodic statutory tenancy which

starts following the end of a shorthold tenancy.

In addition, landlords do not need to check the alarms when a tenancy

is renewed under the same conditions i.e. for the same premises by the

same landlord to the same tenant.

 

The Impact :

Local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the new rules. If the

local authority thinks that a landlord has not implemented the new rules

correctly they will issue a notice advising the landlord what they need to

do to resolve the problem. The local authority must give the notice within

21 days from when they believe that the landlord has breached the rules.

The landlord has 28 days to respond and/or make good what is needed to

comply.

NOTE: Landlords cannot be held responsible if they can show that

they have taken reasonable steps to comply with the rules but cannot

enforce the changes, such as if a tenant refuses to allow for the work

to be done.

 

enforcement:

If landlords do not take action, the local authority can arrange for the

required work to be carried out (with the consent of the occupier) to

ensure that tenants are protected.

Local housing authorities also have the right to impose a fixed penalty

charge (like a parking ticket) of up to £5,000 on landlords who do not

comply with the rules.

timeta ble:

The draft Regulations have been put forward under sections of the Energy

Act 2013 and the Housing Act 2004. They are still yet to be approved by

Parliament.

 

Newsletter

Value My Home

Latest News