New Smoke and CO Detector Regulations for Landlords
29th September 2015
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Just one of many important responsibilities for landlord letting out property in the Farnborough area (or anywhere else) is to keep their tenants as safe as possible.

There is already the requirement for regular safety checks on electric and gas appliances, and now from Oct 2015 new regulations require the fitting of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors too.

From 1 October 2015, private sector landlords must ensure their properties have:

  • at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation
  • a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation containing a solid fuel burning appliance, such as an AGA, open fire or log-burning stove

Furthermore the landlord (or his letting agent, or someone else acting on his behalf) must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy; this should be the first day of tenancy as stated in the tenancy agreement, even where the tenant decides to actually move into the property on a later date.

After that tenants should take responsibility for their own safety by regularly testing all alarms to make sure they are in working order (once per month is generally considered an appropriate frequency to test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors), however the RLA and letting agents suggest it would be worthwhile for the landlord to set up some kind of mechanism to document that these checks have been made, to prove “due diligence” if any issues arose later.

If the local authority has reasonable grounds to believe the landlord has not complied with the regulations a remedial notice will be issued detailing the suspected breach and required action. If the landlord proves compliance, either by becoming compliant or proving they were already compliant, to the local authority, or demonstrates they have taken all reasonable steps to become compliant within, 28 days of the notice being issued then they will be exempt from the civil penalty – which could be up to £5,000.

The regulations do not specify the type of alarms (such as hard wired or battery powered) to be installed, so landlords should make an informed decision and choose the best alarms for their properties and tenants.

Battery-powered CO and/or smoke alarms cost from about £15 and some around the £30 range come with battery packs which can last up to 10 years. Landlords are recommended by the RLA to fit tamper-proof alarms, otherwise to avoid the problem of batteries being taken out and not being replaced. Most alarms are lightweight and easy to position in whichever room or hallway they are required.

Smoke alarms should be fixed to the ceiling in a circulation space, ie: a hall or a landing, and carbon monoxide alarms should be positioned at head height, either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1-3 metres away from a potential source of carbon monoxide. There is some sound advice online about the correct placement of each type of detector:

Note the regulations are not aimed at owner-occupied properties and so do not apply to live-in landlords. For the purposes of the regulations, a landlord is considered to share accommodation with the tenant if they share an amenity such as a kitchen or living room.

Local fire and rescue authorities have a limited number of alarms for free distribution to landlords, and in some cases may offer to fit alarms themselves if the property being rented, or the tenants themselves, meet certain criteria. Landlords with rental properties in Hampshire can request their smoke alarm from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service by visiting and completing the online request form.

If you have any queries regarding the legislation or feel we can help manage your properties in the Farnborough area please contact Newlife Lettings on 01252 642706.

About the Author

Carly B

Member since: 8th May 2013

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