Deadline approaches for smoke and CO alarms compliance

By Bea Patel, TLE Property Editor and Director of Shop for an Agent

Tomorrow, 1st October is the deadline for landlords and managing estate or letting agents (on behalf of landlords) to ensure all rented residential properties comply with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations.

The legislation – which applies to England – requires the installation of working smoke alarms on every floor of a rented residential property, where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. A room also includes a bathroom, lavatory, hall or landing.

The law applies to:

  1. New tenancies from the 1st October 2015.
  2. Renewals from 1st October 2015.
  3. Existing tenancies.

There is some confusion over whether the regulations apply to existing tenancies. We want clarify this now – it does. A Twitter exchange between Henry Pryor and Housing Minister Brandon Lewis makes this clear:


Henry Pryor and Housing Minister Brandon Lewis’ Twitter conversation

Landlords or managing agents must test all smoke alarms for new tenancies starting on, or after 1st October 2015, and on the day the new tenancy begins. The Local Housing Authority can impose a penalty fine up to £5,000 for those who don’t comply.

The new law excludes:

  • registered social landlords
  • shared accommodation with landlords or landlords family
  • licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
  • lodgers
  • long leases
  • student halls of residence
  • hostels and refuges
  • care homes
  • hospitals, and
  • hospices.

There are also requirements to fit carbon monoxide alarms in any rooms used wholly or partly as living accommodation – and which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. This also applies to any kind of wood burning stove, open coal fire or equipment such as a solid fuel Aga in the kitchen.

The Government has provided a grant to local fire and rescue authorities. The grant covers the purchase of around 445,000 smoke alarms and 40,000 carbon monoxide alarms. Local fire and rescue services will distribute them in your area. It’s the tenants’ responsibility to check alarms regularly to ensure they are working, and contact their landlord if they’re faulty.

See the legislation document here

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