New legislation regarding smoke and carbon monoxide alarms | Revive Property Holdings | Revive Property Holdings

New legislation regarding smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

The UK government has published draft legislation to extend the regulations for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for social landlords in England and Wales. The extended regulations are due to come into effect from October this year.

The draft legislation is still waiting for approval, though there shouldn’t be any issue. The extended regulations amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 and will make smoke alarms mandatory in all social rented homes. They will also make mandatory the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in all rooms in rented properties with a fixed combustion device, not counting gas cookers.

In addition, all social housing landlords will be required to repair faulty alarms or replace broken ones once they have been informed of the problem.

Current Private Sector Regulations

The extension of regulations follows a four-year-old report that declared the current regulations were having a ‘positive impact’ on the amount of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that were being installed in homes. The 2018 report suggested the regulations should be expanded to include both the private and social rented sector, with 95% of social housing associations now complying, according to the National Housing Federation.

The current regulations for private sector landlords in England have been in place since 2015. They require landlords to install a minimum of one smoke alarm on every floor of their properties where there is a room used ‘wholly or partly’ as accommodation.

Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in any room that has a solid fuel burning appliance. Each landlord must also ensure that the alarms are in good working order at the beginning of each tenancy.

Changes to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations

There aren’t any major shake-ups in the new regulations amending the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. There are going to be three significant amendments that social housing providers need to be aware of, which include:

  • Smoke alarms to be mandatory in all social rented homes.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms in rented properties to be fitted in all rooms featuring a fixed combustion appliance.
  • Landlords to be required to fix faulty alarms once they have been informed of a problem.

The amendments mean both private and social landlords – or property maintenance agents acting on their behalf – must install a smoke alarm on every storey of their property where a room is used as living accommodation, in part or full time.

Carbon monoxide alarms are also becoming mandatory in every room used as living accommodation that features a ‘fixed combustion appliance’. The wording here is important as the current regulations are for any room used as living accommodation that features a ‘solid fuel-burning combustion appliance’. The new regulations will still exclude gas cookers.

The third amendment requires landlords and agents to replace or repair any alarms that their tenants report as broken or faulty ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’. Tenants will still be responsible for testing the alarms every month.

Any breach of the new regulations by social landlords will make them liable for a fine of up to £5,000, as are private rented landlords under the current regulations.

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