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New Duties on Landlords to Install and Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

From 1 October 2015, landlords of residential properties in the private rented sector must ensure that their properties are kitted out with working carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. The duty arises under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. Failure to comply risks a £5,000 fine.

It is estimated that the new regulations will save 26 lives and nearly 700 injuries per year. The House of Lords commented prior to the introduction of the regulations that: “The regulations aim to save lives and will not catch landlords out”.

What Should Landlords Do?

From 1 October 2015, a landlord of a private sector tenancy must ensure:

  • that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation;
  • that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel appliance. This includes any open fireplace that is available (i.e. not blocked off);
  • that for any new tenancy (a tenancy granted on or after 1 October 2015, but not including renewals or statutory periodic tenancies arising from fixed term tenancies that commenced prior to this date), the landlord or landlord’s agent must check the alarms to make sure they work at the start of the tenancy.

Fire services have been given money to assist landlords with complying with this duty and many are now giving out free smoke and CO detectors to landlords. They will even fit them for you so it is worth getting in touch.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

If landlords have not complied, then the local authority can inspect the property and serve a remedial notice giving the landlord 28 days to fit the required alarms. If this is not complied with then the local authority can levy a penalty of up to £5,000 and, provided the occupier consents, arrange for the remedial action specified in the notice to be taken.

Further information

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published two booklets containing guidance for local authorities, landlords and tenants on the new regulations:

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms: explanatory booklet for local authorities

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms: explanatory booklet for landlords

If you are a landlord and need legal advice about your responsibilities, please get in touch with the expert team of property lawyers at Slater and Gordon. Call us on freephone 0800 223 0764 or contact us online and we will call you back.

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