Landlords warned over mandatory smoke and carbon monoxide alarms rule

Landlords warned over mandatory smoke and carbon monoxide alarms rule

8:30 AM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago 23

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There’s just one month left before landlords – or their agent – must meet the mandatory requirement of fitting smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to their rented properties.

The rules state that all rental homes in England – including buy to lets, licensed and unlicensed HMOs – must provide a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms used as living accommodation where there is a fixed combustion appliance, such as gas heaters and boilers, by 1 October.

This stipulation also includes log-burning stoves and oil boilers.

And, for the first time, the new rules extend to social housing tenants who need a smoke alarm for each storey of their home where there’s a room being used for living accommodation.

The new rules amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 where the requirement previously only applied to solid fuel combustion appliances, such as wood burners.

However, the rules will not extend to gas cookers.

Alarm must be repaired or replaced

The amended rules also include a new requirement to ensure that when a tenant reports to their landlord or letting agent that an alarm may not be working properly, the alarm must be repaired or replaced.

This is a significant change for the private rental sector because landlords or their agent will be responsible for repairing or replacing any smoke and carbon monoxide alarms once they are informed by their tenant.

All alarms must comply with British Standards BS 5839-6 for smoke alarms, and British Standards BS 50291 for carbon monoxide alarms.

Landlords or their agent must also ensure that the property’s alarms are in proper working order on the day that a tenancy starts, and they must keep a record of this.

Any breach may make the landlord or agent liable for remedial notices and ultimately a fine of up to £5,000.

‘Landlord can expect a £20,000 to £30,000 fine’

Phil Turtle, the compliance director with Landlord Licensing and Defence, said: “Of course in HMOs, whether licensed or not, the alarms must be to BS5839-6 and either Grade D1 with coverage LD2 or Grade A (panel system) coverage LD2, or the landlord can expect a £20,000 to £30,000 fine under HMO Management Regulation 4.

“Landlords should be aware of their changing responsibilities come October 1st.

“While some landlords will already have compliant smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, the majority that Landlord Licensing and Defence inspects are deficient and most landlords don’t have carbon monoxide alarms for their gas boilers.”

He added: “Also, landlords may not realise the additional requirement to repair and replace these during the tenancy.

“These changes may seem small versus other legislation in the pipeline, but it’s more important than ever for landlords to be clued-up on all their legal obligations.”

For more information, the government has published its guidance, ‘Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022: guidance for landlords and tenants‘ on its website.



Comments

Claire Smith

11:00 AM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Is the landlord liable if a tenant deliberately tampers with the smoke alarm? We have now put in a wired system after a tenant removed the batteries/smoke alarm on 2 occasions. Otherwise this is an excellent tenant and I suspect that it's the son removing it without her knowledge and the problem should now be solved, but what would have happened if the council had done an inspection?

Paul landlord

13:02 PM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Claire Smith at 01/09/2022 - 11:00
I would ask the same question.

I am an electrician as well as a portfolio landlord. For years I have been installing hard wired, interlinked with battery back up alarms to LD2 coverage.

However it never ceases to amaze me on my inspections the amount of tenants that have removed the detector 'heads' off their 'bases' rendering the whole system as effectively non existent.

Normally I find it's because they value 'silence over safety' due to the alarms sounding when triggered.

In my own home I prefer to shut my kitchen to hallway door and ventilate when I know the hallway will pick up my frying of bacon! The alarms (I won't mention the name) are the best quality and false alarming without cause is virtually unheard of.

Claire Smith

13:30 PM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul landlord at 01/09/2022 - 13:02
Being a nasty suspicious sort of person, I have wondered whether the son is smoking.

Beaver

14:50 PM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Claire Smith at 01/09/2022 - 11:00
I normally buy smoke/CO detectors which are sealed and have either a 5 or ten year battery. I book the cost of them to accounts.

But what happens if the tenant removes these? Or breaks them and doesn't tell you? Or removes them and claims you didn't fit them? Or repeatedly burns things in the kitchen and tampers with them to stop them going off? Probably the only evidence you'd have is the annual gas safety inspection.

Also, what happens if the rules come into force on 1st October but the gas boiler inspection isn't due until perhaps May or June of next year?

Rob Crawford

16:04 PM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 01/09/2022 - 14:50
Why do you feel you have to wait for a boiler inspection before you can install a carbon monoxide detector/alarm? Just book a visit and install it iaw the instructions. Alternatively, pay for a competent person to install it for you - or suffer the risk of a significant fine for non compliance. I would have thought most good landlords are already compliant.

Beaver

16:11 PM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 01/09/2022 - 16:04
I think I'm compliant. I fitted replacement CO detectors with 5 year batteries within the last three years. Nothing was flagged up at the last boiler inspection a few months ago.

But I haven't been inside to check myself within the last two years; tenants don't always allow access. I'm going in to check before the end of September.

But my question was...what happens if you can't? Tenant doesn't allow access....tenant doesn't respond...what records do you have to keep to cover yourself?

Paul landlord

19:22 PM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Claire Smith at 01/09/2022 - 13:30
Here what you saying and appreciate its a good thought but normal cigarette smoking shouldn't trigger a smoke alarm.

Mike

22:26 PM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 01/09/2022 - 16:11
Then its time to get rid of a tenant who refuses you access to your property, how do you know he is not doing many other things that goes against tenancy rules, such as sub-letting, overcrowding, having taken in his whole clan, mother, grandfather, and what not? or using it for an unlawful purpose, or carrying business from home that is outside the planning regulations, or having damaged or altered your property without your consent. Don't just tick the bank statement that the rent has been paid, you do need at least quarterly inspections.

Helen

22:27 PM, 1st September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

When a new tenancy starts I have a document of regulations which the tenant signs. One of the clauses states that there is a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector and the tenant is responsible for checking it at regular intervals.
The new law states, as described above, that it has to be working at the start of the tenancy and that we have to repair it if the tenant reports it as broken. If they tamper with it without telling us, we are not liable.

Carol Wilson

10:40 AM, 2nd September 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Practical questions, not to evade my responsibilities, just to clarify.
I have 5 properties with fully separate cupboards that used to contain immersion tanks, and now contain gas boilers.
I have others where the boiler is in a full length separate cupboard (not a kitchen cabinet) in a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom. I have one boiler in a roof space. I have one baxi back burner boiler in a lounge. All of which are properly ventilated and pass their GSC. Most of which already have CO alarms installed by gas fitters over the last few years.
I also have one pellet boiler that supplies a shop and flat above with heating and hot water, with a CO alarm already.
I want to check that these and new CO alarms are in the right place.
Do I need a CO alarm in the cupboard or in the hallway or room that holds the cupboard. Does a hallway count as a habitable room?
I've been told that CO falls in a room gathering from the floor upwards so should the CO alarm be moved off ceilings and onto walls a certain distance off the floor?
The regulations deliberately do not stipulate where the alarms should be placed and manufacturers advice on placement is very varied and in some cases apparently conflicts with the new laws.
I want to do this properly, not just to adhere to the new law but also to ensure I'm not wasting money by inefficient or plain wrong placement.

Does anyone have a definitive guide from a reputable source?

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