What is the Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm regulations and how does it affect you?
You may of seen the news recently that some new legislation has come into effect called the Smoke and Carbon
Monoxide regulations 2015, this came into force as of 1st October 2015, any landlord found to disregard the regulations
could be fined up to £5,000.
This means that all landlords of residential properties in England (or agents acting on their behalf), must have smoke
alarms fitted on every floor and carbon monoxide alarms in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance, which
includes wood burners and open fires.
What Are Our Thoughts?
The draft legislation was rejected by the House of Lords at the final stage roughly 5 weeks ago, despite the fact it was
due to be introduced at the beginning of this month.
We have for a fair while been trying to find some more definitive information from the local council as well as the
governments website with no real solid information being available, alot if it is left open to interpretation and will be
down to prosecutions as to what precedent will be set.
What information was available was poorly worded and left far to open for interpretation. Not only that but we believe
that the government failed to sufficiently warn landlords and letting agents of the changes in legislation, which in
our opinion again is poorly worded
What Have We been Doing?
Overall we have been teaching students how to test the fire alarms and have been provding them with a fire alarm
test sheet for a fair number of years now, so overall we welcome the legislation coming into effect and is something
we have been encouraging landlords to fit as a precaution and as a matter of due diligence over the years.
Where smoke alarms do exist we have been explaining to the students how to use them as well as ensuring they’ve
signed a form stating that we have showed them and that they will test the fire alarm monthly, this is in addition to
our welcome pack which covers areas such as recycling and how to avoid condensation.
YOU CAN READ THE FULL REGULATIONS HERE
THE INFORMATION BELOW WAS TAKEN FROM THE
“Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms explanatory booklet for landlords”
What Do The Regulations Require?
The regulations require private rented sector landlords, from 1 October 2015, to have:
At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living
accommodation, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel
is used. After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
Who is responsible for checking the required alarams are win working order?
The regulations require landlords to ensure alarms are installed in their properties with effect from 1 October 2015. After that the landlord (or someone acting on behalf of the
landlord) must ensure all alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
After the landlord’s test on the first day of the tenancy, tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order.
Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for smoke alarms. If tenants find
that their alarm(s) are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange the
replacement of the batteries or the alarm itself with the relevant landlord.
Is there a grace period for landlords?
No. Landlords are expected to be compliant from 1 October 2015. There will be no grace
period after this date to install the required alarms.
When must the alarms be checked?
For each new tenancy beginning on or after 1 October 2015, landlords must check that the required alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy. The first day of the tenancy
is the date stipulated in the tenancy agreement, even where the tenant decides to
actually move into the property on a later date.
The intention of the regulations is to increase the safety of private sector tenants by
ensuring that they have working alarms at the beginning of the tenancy.
What if the tenant wont allow the landlord access to the premises to
install the alarms or take remedial action?
The landlord should write to the tenant to explain that it is a legal requirement to install the alarms and that it is for the tenant’s own safety. If the local authority has reasonable grounds to
believe the landlord has not complied with the regulations a remedial notice will be issued,
detailing the suspected breach and required action. If the landlord proves compliance, either by
becoming compliant or proving they were already compliant, to the relevant local authority or
demonstrates they have taken all reasonable steps, other than legal proceedings, to become compliant
within 28 days of the notice being issued then they will be exempt from the civil
penalty – which could be up to £5,000.
6. What type of alarm should be installed?
The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as hard wired or battery powered)
to be installed. Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the best alarms
for their properties and tenants.
7. Can heat detectors be installed in place of smoke alarms?
No. The regulations require smoke alarms to be installed on every storey and a carbon
monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance. Heat detectors are
not a replacement for smoke alarms.
8. Should alarms be situated in a certain place?
The regulations do not stipulate where the alarms should be placed, just that at least one
smoke alarm should be on every storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room
containing a solid fuel burning appliance.