New regulations enforcing the provision of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in privately rented properties are now just one week away. After several months of speculation and debate, the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Act 2015 was finally passed by Parliament on the 14th of September – leaving landlords just two and a half weeks to ensure their properties meet the new requirements.
From the 1st of October 2015, landlords will be required to supply and fit at least one smoke alarm on every storey of their property which is used as living accommodation, even if that storey only includes a bathroom or lavatory. Carbon monoxide alarms must also be present in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a coal or wood burning fire. These alarms must be tested by the landlord at the start of each new tenancy to ensure they are still in working order.
As the legislation currently stands, Landlords are not obliged to fit carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with gas or oil appliances. We at Reside, however, have advised our landlords to supply CO alarms where gas appliances are present; whilst the legislation does not make this mandatory, it does state that ‘reputable landlords’ are expected to supply carbon monoxide alarms in these circumstances.
The Department for Communities’ guidelines make it very clear that no grace period will be permitted for landlords who have not acted to ensure their property is compliant, and hefty fines of up to £5,000 will be levied against those who do not take the necessary steps.
An explanatory handbook written by the Department for Communities explains exactly what landlords must do to ensure compliance, and can be found here.