We all know that we should have working smoke alarms in our homes. Yet even when you find out that you are four times more likely to die without a smoke alarm than with one and around 200 people die in house fires every year, it is one of those chores it is easy to keep putting off.
But soon landlords will no longer have the option to ‘overlook’ this safety necessity. Although the legislation may not come into force on 1 October 2015, it’s enforcement is imminent and landlords will be legally required to install and check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties.
The law will apply to landlords renting residential accommodation to one or more tenants who occupy the property as their home.
The key requirements are:
- A smoke alarm must be fitted on every floor of the property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation.
- A carbon monoxide alarm must be placed in any room where solid fuel is burnt, such as wood, coal or biomass. This includes open fires but does not include gas, oil or LPG.
- Landlords will have to make sure the alarms work at the start of every tenancy, for example by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds.
- Landlords are also required to demonstrate that the alarms are working at the start of the tenancy. To prove this, we will advise landlords to get a receipt signed by the tenant confirming that the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working. Alternatively, it should be added to the inventory signed by the tenant at check-in.
A few things to note:
- A bathroom or toilet is classed as a room used for living accommodation.
- A ‘room’ includes a hall or landing, and stairways also fall within the regulations. So, if you have a flat above a shop but you enter through stairs on the ground floor, a smoke alarm will be required in the stairway.
The new rules will be enforced by local authorities who will have the right to impose a fixed penalty charge (like a parking ticket) of up to £5,000 on landlords who do not comply.
If you have any queries about the new rules or would like to find out about Frank Harris & Co.’s property management services, please call Wendy Akast on 020 700 6000 or email email@example.com