New Regulations relating to Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms

Carbon monoxide and smoke alarms – new regulations for privately rented properties
You may have seen that the government have recently announced changes to the regulations regarding the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in all privately rented properties.
Key points you need to know:
  • Landlords are required to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property and test them at the start of the tenancy.
  • Landlords are required to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms such as those where solid fuel heating systems are installed.
  • Landlords will be expected to comply with the new regulations by October 2015 when the new legislation is expected to take effect.
  • Those who fail to comply with the new regulations could face up to a £5000 civil penalty.
What’s included as “solid fuel” burning appliances?
Some of our landlords have queried whether “solid fuel” should include gas appliances like boilers, fires, cookers etc. Therefore we have taken their query to the Department for Communities and Local Government who have confirmed the following:
“The intention of the regulations is not to capture gas appliances. However as with any legislation only the courts have authority to provide a definitive interpretation.”
As a responsible agent we feel it is important landlords have this full picture of the regulations to make the right decision regarding placing carbon monoxide alarms in their properties.  We wholeheartedly recommend that landlords do put carbon monoxide alarms in place for gas appliances despite this current omission from the regulations. Gas appliances can omit carbon monoxide so we feel having an alarm in place for each appliance gives you the peace of mind that you are covered as a landlord and you have done as much as you can to ensure the safety of your tenant.
What actions are we taking at Preferential Properties?
We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of new legislation and take our responsibilities regarding the safety of our tenants very seriously. We already test smoke alarms as a matter of course during our inventory process at the outset of each tenancy.
From 1st June 2015 we will begin a phased implementation of the regulations across all of our properties in conjunction with our landlords. A review of each property will be conducted and alarms will be fitted, where needed, in line with the regulations.
If you are a landlord and want to ensure your property is safe for your tenants...
If your property is managed by an agent we recommend you contact them to find out how they intend to help you meet the regulations.
Responsibility for the presence of the alarms will come back to you even if your property is managed, so it is in your interest to ensure your property complies.
We recommend you ensure you understand the regulations and your obligations fully. You can find out more on the GOV.UK and HSE websites and see the latest draft of these regulations on: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2015/9780111133439/contents
You may also wish to investigate the recent government announcement that funding will be available to provide alarms to private sector landlords across the country. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/3-million-fund-means-thousands-more-tenants-will-have-working-smoke-alarms (please note however this announcement pre-dates the recent change in government).
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be fitted in line with the manufacturer’s instructions so if in doubt we recommend you use an accredited contractor to install them to ensure they will do the job that they are meant to.
We hope this information is useful to you and if you are a landlord of a property in the North Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth, Lichfield area and would like discuss the management of your property by all means contact us on 01212402244.