20 March 2018
Landlords should be aware of the changes being implemented by The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 ('the Regulations'). A survey carried out by British Gas found that 59% of landlords were not aware that the Regulations were due to come into force. The Regulations came into force on 1 October 2015 without any grace period and therefore landlords need to take immediate notice of their new obligations.
Under the Regulations, private sector landlords are required from 1 October 2015 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a 'solid fuel burning combustion appliance' (i.e. appliances that are powered using a type of solid fuel, such as coal, wood etc.). It is important to note that this includes tenancies granted before 1 October 2015.
Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the landlord (or someone acting on their behalf) to make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. For the purposes of the Regulations, a 'new tenancy' is a tenancy agreement that begins on or after 1 October 2015 and is not a renewal of a previous tenancy agreement.
A local housing authority must serve a remedial notice on the landlord, if it has reasonable grounds to believe a landlord is in breach of any of the duties discussed above. The landlord will have 28 days to achieve compliance where a remedial notice is served. Local authorities can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.
In practical terms, landlords should consider getting tenants to confirm in writing that the required alarms have been tested by the landlord at the start of the tenancy, in order that they have documentary evidence to present to the local authority if required.