Why are Social Landlords excluded from smoke alarm regulations – are their tenants less valuable?

by Readers Question

10:02 AM, 4th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Why are Social Landlords excluded from smoke alarm regulations – are their tenants less valuable?

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Why are Social Landlords excluded from smoke alarm regulations – are their tenants less valuable?

I received this letter, but my boiler service was 2015 by the way.social landlord

I completed a home safety check on behalf of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service on the (date and address) of which you are the landlord.

During the check it was noted that the property had only one working smoke detector and the boiler has not been serviced since 07/01/2012 (proof of which is attached).

Smoke alarm regulations
From 1 October 2015 new regulations require landlords to ensure the fire safety of their tenants as well as offer protection against carbon monoxide poisoning.

What is happening?
The new regulations require that from 1 October 2015, landlords are required to install a smoke alarm on every floor of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms containing a solid fuels appliance.

Landlords are required to check that alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy and no doubt tenants will notify landlords whenever alarms appear to be faulty.
Enforcement of the Regulations is the responsibility of the local housing authority, which can require landlords to fit alarms and if the landlord fails to do so has the power to arrange for them to be fitted. There is a power to levy a penalty charge on the landlord. The penalty charge is limited to £5000.

Who will be affected?
The new regulations will apply to all ‘specified tenancies’, i.e. residential premises where a person or persons have a right to occupy the premises and rent is payable.

Who is not affected?
The regulations specifically exclude registered social landlords from these obligations. Certain types of properties and arrangements are also excluded, e.g. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), lodgers, long-leases, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices.

Other legislation applies to many of the properties and arrangements that have been excluded.

Transitional arrangements
Further guidance will be issued by the Government and will cover a range of issues, such as testing, including hard-wired systems, clarity on which tenancies are affected and issues of overlap and interaction between these new regulations and others, such as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

NFRS have supplied and fitted a further two smoke alarms in your property, if you have other properties that have no smoke detectors you will have to supply and fit smoke detectors in those properties as well.

Mick



Comments

Robert Mellors

13:14 PM, 4th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Mick

The sentence in the letter that says "Other legislation applies to many of the properties and arrangements that have been excluded." is probably the reason why this particular legislation does not apply to registered social landlords. However, I don't know the legislation that does apply to RSLs so I cannot say for sure.

Homeowners are of course not covered by such legislation, or even the requirement to have annual gas safety checks, so I guess the government don't give two hoots about their safety!

Mick Roberts

6:46 AM, 5th March 2016
About 3 years ago

All these new rules against private landlords are nuts & making me nuts.

Chris Byways

8:35 AM, 5th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mick Roberts" at "05/03/2016 - 06:46":

No, not nuts, but disproportionate. Fully agree keeping up with ALL the new regs is a nightmare!

A £5 alarm can save lives, but up to £5,000 fine for perhaps not being able to PROVE a second alarm was fitted, upstairs, years later is draconian.

And to say tenants will no doubt report if not working is nuts. Some won't check or just remove batteries.

Is this now retrospective since Oct 2015 for LL to have installed an upstairs alarm?

Yet at the other extreme they seem to gloss over the apparent lack of boiler certificate for 2012/2015? That I would have thought would have lead to sanction.

Mick Roberts

15:26 PM, 5th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Byways" at "05/03/2016 - 08:35":

Yes I thought they should have been on my case for them getting wrong date on certificate.

I was doing smoke alarms every house 18 years ago.
I stopped doing when all tenants took batteries out for whatever they deemed more important.

Chris Byways

16:22 PM, 5th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Priorities.

"all tenants took batteries out for whatever they deemed more important."

TV remote and X-box are more urgent, right now.

Paul Tarry

19:08 PM, 5th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi

I carry out repairs and maintenance to let property, I have not found any TV or X Box that uses PP9 type batteries they all use AAA or AA

The batteries are usually taken out of smoke alarms because they go off! the tenant get's fed up of them and disable them

I have found them physicaly removed and tucked in cupboards, airing cupboards and even thrown into the loft, I buy dozens of batteries, smoke alarms and now CO2 detectors and spend time advising the tenant agains the above practice

I also explain we had a small fire at home in 2015 simply due to a grill being left on......decorating, new cooker etc etc about 5K from a small fire

Its only there own lives after all, nothing important...

Robert Mellors

19:49 PM, 5th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Paul Tarry" at "05/03/2016 - 19:08":

In my HMOs I have hard wired mains interlinked fire alarms, and the tenants can't take batteries out of those, so when they burn the toast (or whatever) they smash them off the ceiling instead. How stupid is this, they put their lives and the lives of everyone else at risk!!!!

Alison King

22:32 PM, 5th March 2016
About 3 years ago

My tenants tape teatowels over theirs. A much simpler solution.

Mick Roberts

7:14 AM, 6th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "05/03/2016 - 19:49":

Ha Ha smash 'em off ceiling, I've not had that yet.

I have the same tenants, when I go in their house, the low battery on smoke alarm is constantly beeping every 45 seconds or so.

It gets on my nerves & I'm only there a few mins. They live with it for months.

At my own house, when one starts low battery beep, we go hunting it down as I can't stand it for one hour, never mind months.

Paul Tarry

18:51 PM, 6th March 2016
About 3 years ago

I changed batteries in 2 smoke alarms because they were beeping, once I had finished I could still hear a smoke alarm beeping, after a few minutes searching I found an old smoke alarm hidden behind the hot water tank....

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