New rules regarding smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in the private rented sector come onto force

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

The regulations were only passed on 17 September 2015 and therefore there is little time for landlords to comply. Furthermore, there have been complaints both that the Government has not done enough to inform the private rental sector of this significant change in the law and that the legislation itself is poorly worded.

The regulations provide that:

All landlords must comply in relation to any property that is occupied by tenants as at 1 October 2015. As such, the regulations apply to all existing tenancies.

All landlords of private residential rental properties will be required to install a smoke alarm on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation (this includes bathrooms and lavatories).

All landlords of private residential rental properties will be required to install carbon monoxide alarms in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance, which includes coal or wood burning fires and wood burning stoves.

All landlords are required to make checks to ensure that each alarm that is installed is in proper working order on the day a new tenancy begins if it is a tenancy that begins after 1 October 2015. This does not apply to tenancies that are renewed or continue after that time.

Failure to comply means that a local authority who has knowledge or reasonable grounds to believe that a landlord is in breach can serve a remedial notice on the landlord giving him 28 days in which to remedy matters, failing which a penalty may be payable. If the landlord does not comply within the 28 days, the penalty payable can be up to £5,000.

The regulations do not specify whether the alarms should be battery operated or hardwired and essentially this is therefore up to the landlord.

The regulations will not apply to HMO licensed premises, resident landlord situations, long leases, students’ halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices or other healthcare accommodation.

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Source: Abbey Legal

Post date: 02 Oct 2015

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