Appliances and alarms : new requirements for landlords
New rules on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rental properties are in force from this month (October 2022) and residential landlords and providers of social housing must comply on new and existing tenancies.
Under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022, landlords must ensure there is at least one smoke alarm on each storey of their homes where there is a room used as living accommodation. This has been a legal requirement in the private rented sector since 2015 but now applies to all social rented homes as well.
A new requirement is to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation which contains any form of fixed combustion appliance, such as a boiler, but excluding gas cookers. Previously this applied only where there was a solid fuel combustion appliance, such as a wood burner.
Alarms must be in proper working order at the start of a new tenancy and landlords must ensure faulty smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once they have been informed there is a problem. If action is not taken, the local authority can issue a remedial notice to enforce replacement or repair. If action is not taken within 21 days of the remedial notice, then a fine of up to £5,000 can be imposed on the landlord.
Exemptions continue to apply for accommodation shared with the landlord or landlord’s family; long leases; student halls of residence; hostels and refuges; care homes; hospitals and hospices; and other accommodation relating to healthcare provision.
Residential landlords may feel they have a rough deal in tackling the burden of new legislation, but this is focused on safer homes for tenants and best practice for residential landlords and their letting agents.
The important thing is to keep a finger on the pulse and ensure you are on top of new developments. Prevention is always better than cure in such situations, with high penalties for non-compliance.
These updated requirements for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms follow the recent updating of the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations which applied to all new tenancies from June 2020, and all existing tenancies from April 2021. These require that every property has an electrical safety compliance certificate, to prove that fixed electrical installations have been safety tested by a qualified electrician and an Electrical Safety Condition Report – or EICR – provided to existing tenants within 28 days and before a tenancy starts for new tenants. The electrical installation must be visually checked on a regular basis, and a full check undertaken by a qualified person at least every five years.