Smoke alarms for deaf tenants?

by Readers Question

10:14 AM, 11th May 2017
About A year ago

Smoke alarms for deaf tenants?

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Smoke alarms for deaf tenants?

I am about to let one of my properties to a couple who are both deaf. The property has two smoke alarms already but the new tenants would not be able to hear them.

I feel I have a moral obligation to install something like the Fire Angel W2 SVP 630 system which provides a strobe and a vibrating under-pillow pad. This is not compatible with my existing Dicon alarms, so it is going to be a relatively expensive provision as I will also have to provide two new smoke alarms.

Firstly, is there a legal obligation to do this?

Secondly, are there grants available?

Thirdly, is the expense tax deductible, as I am not replacing like-for-like?

Malcolm



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:29 AM, 11th May 2017
About A year ago

Hi Malcolm,

I tried every .Gov website and found no mention however, Shelter said:

"Specialist alarms if you are deaf
Your landlord does not have to provide specialist alarms if you are deaf or hard of
hearing. You can contact Action on Hearing Loss on 03330 144 525 or textphone 03330 144 530 for information about alarms that alert you through vibration or flashing light."

I think new deaf fire alarms will be treated as a capital expense by HMRC as they assist your business to let to a deaf tenant.

Rob Crawford

13:34 PM, 11th May 2017
About A year ago

Hi Malcolm, under the equality Act 2010 if you are providing housing for disabled persons you need to make "reasonable adjustment". Defining what is "reasonable" is a debatable issue. I detect from your e-mail that you would be happy to oblige but you are concerned that associated costs may make it unreasonable! If you currently have interlink alarms this would be less expensive but you will need to replace and add to the detector units (into bedrooms for example). I would suggest detectors with high intensity flashing lights that are designed to wake a deaf person. There are various products on the market that may be suitable. An RF link to an additional detector in the bedroom and other rooms would be a reasonable low cost. Vibrating mats would be subject to wear and tear and over time are likely to have to be replaced at additional expense. If you currently only have battery fire detectors the costs will increase significantly and may make it "unreasonable"! Did you make any commitments to the tenant before he/she took up the tenancy as this may influence your decision. Yes you can offset these modifications against tax. This is a good article from CA: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/what-are-the-different-types-of-discrimination/duty-to-make-reasonable-adjustments-for-disabled-people/

Rob Crawford

14:38 PM, 11th May 2017
About A year ago

Hi Malcolm, please hold fast on my "Yes you can offset these modifications against tax" statement. I am currently looking into it on the basis that you do not normally let to disabled tenants and this will likely resume after the current tenancy ends. As such the "adjustment" is not a capital improvement, particularly if you need to return the property to the original condition after.

Rob Crawford

14:51 PM, 11th May 2017
About A year ago

Hi Malcolm, you can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) from your Council (see eligibility in the following as applying to landlords with disabled tenants). Details on Gov't website: https://www.gov.uk/disabled-facilities-grants/overview

terry sullivan

9:22 AM, 12th May 2017
About A year ago

define HMO please--2 of my properties are classified as HMOs but only have 2 floors

banes says 3 or more floors

Neil Patterson

9:38 AM, 12th May 2017
About A year ago

Standard definition is 5 or more tenants over 3 floors, but this is an old school definition with lenders and councils all using different ones.

A council or lender could consider any more than 2 tenants on any number of floors an HMO.

Mark Taylor

18:27 PM, 12th May 2017
About A year ago

Hi Malcolm,
Contact your local fire service and there's a good chance that they'll fit them for free. I'm a firefighter on Merseyside and that's what happens here.


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