New Legislation for Landlords – Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms
As of October, new legislation for landlords comes into force. Private landlords are being warned and are advised to follow these new laws so fees are avoided. The new legislation requires landlords to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
It is now a legal requirement for every private rented home in England to be fitted with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.
The requirement is to install at least one smoke alarm on every storey of the rental property on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. If there is a solid fuel burning combustion appliance such as a coal fire or wood burning stove, a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted in that room.
There also requires the landlord to ensure that the alarms are in good working condition on the first day of any new tenancy. If these regulations are not followed, the landlord can be charged with a fine over £5000.
In addition to the alarm regulations, a new law is set to come into force that will prevent landlords of evicting the tenants who complain to the council about their home conditions.
HOW AND WHERE TO INSTALL THE ALARMS
The regulations don’t say whether these should be hard wired or battery powered smoke alarms.
The regulations also don’t say where the smoke alarms should be located. Government guidance is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and that smoke alarms should normally be fitted to the ceiling in a circulation space – i.e. on a landing or in a hallway.
If you are unsure what is most appropriate for your property, you may need to seek further advice.
Carbon monoxide alarm
If there is a solid fuel burning combustion appliance such as a coal fire or wood burning stove, a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted in that room.
Whilst not part of the legislation, the guidance states that ‘In the Department’s view, a non-functioning purely decorative fireplace would not constitute a solid fuel burning appliance’. You might want to add a clause to the tenancy agreement to make clear that such a fireplace must not be used. There’s no harm installing a CO alarm as well, if you want to.
The regulations don’t say where the carbon monoxide alarms should be located. Government guidance is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and that carbon monoxide alarms should normally be located at head height either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1 to 3 meters away for the solid fuel burning appliance.
It is important that they are securely fixed in place so they are not moved or misplaced by the occupants.