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NEW Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm Legislation for Landlords

From the 1st October 2015, Landlords will be required by law to install Smoke Detectors & Carbon Monoxide Detectors in England.

Summary of the Legislation:
A smoke alarm is now required on every story.
A Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm must be installed in every room with a solid fuel burning appliance.
Alarms must be tested and working on the start of each tenancy.
Penalties of up to £5,000 enforced by local authorities.
There is no grace period.

The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarm to be installed however the Q&A booklet states: ‘Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the best alarms for their properties and tenant’.

Although the legislation refers only to solid fuel burning appliances in relation to CO alarms, the Q&A booklet states in relation to gas appliances that: ’we would expect and encourage reputable landlords to ensure that working carbon monoxide alarms are installed in rooms with these [gas appliances].’

Why are these changes being made?
The proposed legislation is part of a wider effort to increase fire and carbon monoxide safety across the UK. The statistics below, drawn from a variety of sources, highlight why the government has been so keen to redress the imbalance between protection levels for private tenants versus the rest of the housing sector.

Smoke alarm coverage in privately rented accommodation stands at 83%. This is the lowest of any housing type.
Source Official Impact Assessment conducted by government prior to announcement of legislation.

Between April 2013 and March 2014, 97 people died and 1900 were injured in domestic fires affecting properties where no smoke alarm was present.
Source: Fire Statistic Great Britain 2013-14

The risk of a CO related incident occurring in the private rental sector is three times greater than the risk for other housing types.
Source: Gas Safety Trust Carbon Monoxide Incident Report 2012

A study of 1758 emergency department patients displaying symptoms that could be associated with CO poisoning found that only 16% had a CO alarm installed in their home.
Source: BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) Article 2012

Who is responsible for maintaining the alarms?
In basic terms, landlords must ensure that alarms are provided and working, but routine maintenance and testing then falls to the occupants of the property. Should the alarms develop a fault or expire during a tenancy it remains the responsibility of a landlord to replace them.

The proposed legislation states that a landlord must make certain that: "checks are made by or on behalf of the landlord to ensure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy"

Once the alarms have been established as working, whether a new tenancy or a tenancy overlapping the introduction of the legislation, many landlords ask tenants to sign a document confirming that alarms have been tested in their presence. This can also be used to clarify for the benefit of the tenants that the duty of maintenance falls to them from that point forwards.

If you are a landlord and looking for smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms, look no further than our extensive range of Smoke Alarms, CO Carbon Monoxide Alarms and applicable batteries.