Landlords are to be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their rental properties. The measure is expected to be effective from October 2015.
According to figures available from the fire and rescue authorities the move will improve fire safety and help prevent up to 36 deaths and 1,375 injuries a year.
England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected give this their full backing and to support private landlords in their own areas to meet their new responsibilities with the provision of free alarms, with grant funding from government.
This initiative is part of wider government moves to ensure there are sufficient safety measures in place in private rentals, while at the same time avoiding excessive regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:
“In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%.
“The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.
“But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.”
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:
“We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning.
“People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.
“That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.”
Ensuring the safety of tenants
Other measures the Coalition Government is taking to support the private rented sector (PRS) include investing £1 billion in building newly-built homes specifically for private rent, giving tenants support against rogue landlords and publishing a How to Rent Guide* so that tenants and landlords can be clear about their rights and responsibilities.
The proposed changes would require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor level of their property, and to test them at the start of every tenancy.
Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed, or especially where a gas boiler is located near a bedroom or living room.
Failure to comply by installing working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would result in sanctions and landlords could face fines of up to a £5,000 for each offence.
This measure will bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built (post 1992) homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed on each floor level, though this is the first time carbon monoxide alarms have been mandatory.
And DCLG says “it’s in line with other measures the government has taken to improve standards in the private rented sector, without wrapping the industry up in red tape”.
The new regulations will be laid before Parliament and subject to approval will come into force on 10 October 2015.
DCLG say the allocation of funding to fire and rescue authorities to offer free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to local landlords will be announced shortly.
The government’s “Fire Kills” campaign will be encouraging people to test their smoke alarms when they change their clocks to British Summer Time.
The ‘Tick Tock Test’ campaign will run on radio, online and in the press from 16 to 29 March 2015.
From October Landlords Legally Required to Install Working Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Rental Properties – http://t.co/uBap3tjH7j
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) March 11, 2015