Important changes for landlords – be prepared

Some new legislation will shortly be laid before Parliament, and it could have an impact on
landlords as early as 1st October. The ‘Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015’
state that, from the 1st October 2015, all landlords in the private rented sector in England are
responsible for ensuring that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are appropriately installed and
are in proper working order at the start of a new tenancy.

Who does this apply to?

The law will apply to landlords renting residential accommodation to one or more tenants occupying
all or part of the property as their only or main place to live. It does not apply to social
landlords.

What you need to do:

  1. If you take on a new tenant from the 1st October 2015, make sure a smoke alarm is fitted on
    every floor of the property you are letting. This includes any stairways leading up to your
    property.
  2. You will also have to put a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt,
    such as wood, coal or biomass and includes open fires. It does not include gas, oil or LPG. A
    bathroom, lavatory, hall, landing and stairwells are also classed as rooms.
  3. As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the alarms work at the start of
    every tenancy. During the tenancy it is a tenant’s responsibility to ensure the alarms work,
    including changing the battery. If the alarm becomes faulty, it’s your responsibility to change it
    immediately.
  4. You do not need to carry out a check of the alarms upon renewal of an existing tenancy
    agreement.

Enforcement:

If landlords do not take action, the local authority can arrange for the required work to be
carried out (with the consent of the occupier) to ensure that tenants are protected. Local housing
authorities also have the right to impose a fixed penalty charge of up to £5,000 on landlords who
do not comply with the rules. You will not be held responsible if you can prove that you have taken
reasonable steps to comply with the rules but cannot enforce the changes, such as if a tenant
refuses to allow for the work to be done.

Be prepared:

The draft Regulations have been put forward under sections of the Energy Act 2013 and the Housing
Act 2004. They are still to be approved by Parliament, but could come into force from 1st October
this year. The draft Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 can be read in full
here >>