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New Smoke Alarm Regulations

Monday, 26th October 2015

Categories: Lettings

Author: Charlotte Delph

New regulations that came into effect at the beginning of this month require private landlords in England to install and maintain smoke alarms in all their properties. While recommendations for residential properties have been in place for many years – and hard-hitting advertising campaigns have encouraged homeowners to install and regularly test fire alarms – landlords have previously not been breaking any regulations by not having smoke alarms in properties.

Many landlords were voluntarily choosing to install smoke alarms for their own, and their tenants’, peace of mind but the new regulations will ensure that tenants are better protected right across the rental spectrum.

Properties must have a smoke alarm on every floor and the regulations require the landlord (or their representative) to test every smoke alarm when each new tenancy begins. However, once new tenants have moved into the property, it is their responsibility to regularly check the alarms during their tenancy.

The regulations aim to address some alarming statistics for fire-related deaths and injuries in properties without smoke alarms. For example, between April 2013 and March 2014:

‘Dwellings with no smoke alarm accounted for 38% of deaths in home fires in Great Britain, and nearly one fifth of deaths occurred where no smoke alarm worked.’

Source: Fire statistics: Great Britain

The regulations also state that a carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in any bedroom where there is a solid fuel appliance. And this is where many landlords will have to take action – while many properties will already have working smoke alarms installed, far fewer landlords install carbon monoxide alarms as standard practice.

So, what are the implications if landlords fail to meet the new regulations? Responsibility lies with individual housing authorities and they can issue remedial notices to landlords who fail to meet the regulations. There will be a period of compliance, after which landlords could face a hefty fine.

It might seem obvious that landlords would want to protect their tenants and properties for the price of a couple of alarms, however, the statistics show that this is not always the case. These new regulations will ensure that this vitally important and potentially life-saving addition to a landlord’s responsibilities is no longer voluntary, and that all private tenants will now be living in safer environments.

At Peter Barry we have ensured that every rental property we handle meets the required standards and provides complete peace of mind for both Landlord and Tenant.

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