Although not yet approved by Parliament, it’s looking likely that, from 1st October 2015, landlords in England will be required to comply with a new set of regulations on smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
The new regulations will certainly help protect your tenants and keep them safe, and it’ll help protect your property too.
The important thing to note is that, if it’s all approved, there won’t be a grace period and, if you’re found to be in breach of the regulations on or after 1st October, you could be fined up to £5,000. So it’s a good idea to act now and make sure you’re compliant for if and when the changes come into force.
The regulations are fairly simple and there are only three steps to take:
1. Make sure all your properties are fitted with working smoke alarms, on any floor that’s used fully, or partly, as living accommodation
2. Make sure you fit working carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your property that has a solid fuel burning appliance (such as a coal fire, Aga or log burner)
3. Make sure you test all smoke/carbon monoxide alarms are working at the beginning of every new tenancy, from 1st October onwards
Certain local authorities are offering landlords the opportunity to pick up free smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors from their local fire service.
During a tenancy, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to test the alarms and ensure they’re kept in working order – this includes replacing batteries or even the whole alarm if necessary (with your permission).
When fitting your carbon monoxide detector, keep in mind that the composition of the gas is less dense than air so it’s recommended you place it above any appliances with the potential to emit it.
If you want to look at these regulations in more detail (we recommend you do), the draft version can be found on the government’s website. They’ve also published a simple FAQ guide too, that may be a little easier to digest.