As a result of a consultation commenced by the coalition government, new regulations are expected to come into force on 1 October 2015 (subject to Parliamentary approval) making it compulsory for all landlords to fit smoke alarms in rented properties.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 will require landlords to fit smoke alarms on every floor of any of their properties which are used wholly or partly as living accommodation, as well as carbon monoxide alarms in any of their properties which burn solid fuels. On commencement of any new tenancy, landlords must also check the alarms are working or they could face potential penalty charges of up to £5,000 if they do not comply. However, the responsibility to test the alarm is in working order throughout the duration of the tenancy will rest with the tenant.
Most rented properties do already have a smoke alarm, or alarms, installed but to make their installation compulsory will ensure greater protection to tenants, whilst also helping to reduce the amount of fire or smoke related injuries or deaths that occur in the home. Government statistics have shown that people are at least four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no working smoke alarm.
The government is expected to provide England’s fire services with a number of free smoke alarms to be distributed to landlords as an incentive before the regulations come into force.
The government consultation paper on the matter shows the implementation of these regulations is part of a “wider government move to protect public safety, whilst avoiding regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes.”
By Camilla Hooper, Trainee Solicitor