Although the draft regulations are yet to be rubber stamped by Parliament and the House of Lords are demanding a debate, proposed legislation in relation to Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors will potentially come in to force from 1 October 2015.
The Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 will, if drafted in to statute, require private rental sector landlords to improve the fire safety of their tenants.
There is still much uncertainty regarding the proposed legislation, which in it’s current state raises more questions than answers, however Tavistock Bow have compiled the following information to highlight the key points and ensure landlords are as informed and prepared as possible.
Under current proposals, the following will become compulsory and enforced by the local housing authority (our patch falls under Westminster, Camden or City of London)
Private residential Landlords will be required to:
If landlords do not comply there will be penalties of up to £5,000.
The good news is that private landlords and managing agents can apply for free smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms:
The proposed wording in the draft legislation is rather ambiguous with regards to installing (makes reference to “end of a period” with no definition of “period”), therefore it would be advisable for all landlords install both Carbon Monoxide Detectors & Smoke Alarms to the required level with immediate effect. These should be checked annually and the most appropriate time would be when the annual Landlord Gas Safety Check is completed.
A landlord will be specifically requested to carry out a check on the day a tenancy begins but this does not currently apply to renewal or periodic tenancies (this is subject to amendment based on the formally approved Regulations when it does come into force).
Both alarms should be tested and confirmed in good working order before each tenancy. There is uncertainty as to whom the responsibility to test the alarms lies with and therefore who is liable should the worst happen, however we are liaising with our third party service providers to see if this check will be completed as part of their services subject to sufficient professional indemnity etc (which is a current stumbling block for the legislation).
Our recommendation to tenants will be to test alarms/detectors once a month as best practice and know their escape plan in the case of a fire.
How Tavistock Bow can help:
We will monitor the situation and contact all our landlord clients in due course to make them fully aware of the legislation & regulations as soon as they come in to force.
In the meantime, should you have any questions we’d be only to happy to help so please feel free to call any of the Letting & Management team on 020 7277 2177