Introducing “Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (England) Regulations 2015”.
Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, under measures announced in March 2015.
The legislation has been proposed to address the imbalance between protection levels for private tenants in contrast to residents classed as owner occupiers or social housing occupants. Statistics show they could prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year.
Fire authorities are expected to help landlords in their area to meet the new requirements with grant funding from the government.
The national average of homes with a smoke alarm fit is 90%, however only 83% of rental properties have a smoke alarm. Data gathered from 1998 show renters are also 3 times more likely to suffer a carbon monoxide related incident.
Between April 2013 and March 2014, 97 people died and 1900 were injured in domestic fires affecting properties where no smoke alarm was present.
The vast majority of landlords already provide these alarms, but the change in the law will ensure every tenant is given this protection. Testing these alarms regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.
Landlords need to install a smoke alarm on every floor of the property and carbon monoxide alarms are required to be fitted by landlords in any room used for living accommodation that contains a “solid fuel burning combustion appliance”.
Regulations, as yet, do not have a specific definition for “solid fuel burning combustion appliances” so it is best to apply a common sense approach. Open fires and stoves that burn coal or other solid fuels are clearly included. It is probable that biomass systems that burn fuel derived from things like wood are also included. Oil isn’t really a “solid fuel” but oil appliances are well known to carry a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, so the safest approach would be to install an alarm. A common source of carbon monoxide in a home is through faulty appliances such as a boiler.
Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odourless, colourless gas that is produced by incomplete combustion.
Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would face sanctions and could face up to £5000 civil penalty.
This new law is expected to come into force, subject to Parliamentary approval, on 10 October 2015.
As a private landlord, professional landlord, or letting agent, you must consider the effect this legislation will have on you.