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I’m new to this rented property business, should I install smoke and carbon monoxide alarm to my property?

Definitely YES! If you renting out your property, then you are required to install all essential fire safety equipment like smoke alarms.  Needing a carbon monoxide alarm depends if you have a solid fuel/fire stove installed in your property.

The 1st of October 2015 set in significant changes to the regulations regarding the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms in all privately rented properties. All landlords are obliged to install the required alarms for the sake of safeties in their properties, and they must be aware for all consequences of not complying with the new legislations.

 

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations of 2015 states that it is a necessity to install smoke alarms on every floor of a privately rented property, thus all rooms equipped with any burning device or solid fuel must be installed with a Carbon Monoxide Alarm. The landlord must also see to it that all fire safety devices are checked and maintained to be working properly right before a new tenant takes place. Prior to the changes in legislations way back in 1992 landlords whose property were built before June of the same year were not required to install any smoke alarms within the property that is why the new changes in legislations have given confusions to landlord about their new legal obligations.

 

The goal of changing the legislations is to maintain a standard quality and protected properties for rent from the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning which may cause serious damages to the property and to the tenants. The upgrades in regulations will also gauge the landlord’s sense of responsibility in complying the changes. In an event that the landlord fails to comply with the legislations risking the safety of the tenants, a penalty can be imposed with an amount of £ 5000.00

Why do I need to install these alarms?

More than 25 deaths and 700 injuries will be prevented if every responsible landlord enforces in putting fire and safety equipment. Statistics proved that people who lives in properties without smoke alarms has greater possibilities of dying in an fire incident.

Carbon monoxide to be specific is a potential toxic in humans when inhaled since it has a colorless, tasteless and odorless characteristics, that is why audible detectors in rooms are very important because it can detect any gas leak.

 

Is my premises affected by the changes in legislation?

 

Every privately rented residential property is compromised to comply the changes in legislation. In the even that a property is licensed with HMO or any other property licensing then it’s the license holder’s responsibility to ensure that all required conditions is met upon the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

 

However, some properties are exempted to these new regulations including:

  • ‘Long Lease’ tenancies
  • Student halls of residents
  • Hostels
  • Care Homes
  • Hospitals
  • A tenancy where tenants share the same accommodation with the landlord or a landlord’s family member, sharing the accommodations in living area, bathroom, toilet, and kitchen but will not go beyond sharing storage facilities.

 

Smoke Alarms

 

Smoke alarms is required to be installed in each storey of the premises as long as there are rooms being used, even if it’s wholly or just partially as living accommodation, living accommodation refers to a rooms wherein family members or even other tenants spends time with this can be the bedroom, kitchen and dining rooms. Lavatories and bathrooms must also be considered as living accommodations. A portion of storey of a building that is purposed for hallways/landing and lavatory must also have smoke alarms in it.

However, the legislation doesn’t give specific areas on where the smoke alarms needed to be installed, it can be the manufacturer’s instruction on where it can be installed. Usually, smoke alarms are to be installed in ceilings wherein a circulation space is observed.

 

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

A carbon monoxide alarm need to be installed in a room where there is a solid fuel combustion device present, for instance, an open fire, wood burning, stove and any appliance that may burn solid fuels. Any rooms even it’s the kitchen or living room must have an alarm to be secure.

However, carbon monoxide alarms are not required in rooms with oil or gas appliances, but still it’s the gas appliances that emits carbon monoxide so it’s for the best safety to ensure a carbon monoxide alarm even if it’s not required.

What type of alarm should be installed?

The legislation does not demand any type of alarm either it’s a hard-wired or battery powered alarms, it is the landlord’s choice to choose the best alarm in accordance to the needs of the property and the tenant, however heat detectors are not enough to be placed instead of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

 

What can happen to a landlord who does not comply?

The Local Housing Authority has the right to enforce the new regulations with the landlord, if they think that the new legislation has not been complied by a landlord then they will issue a 28-day remedial period to the landlord enabling him to have the time to install all fire safety equipment within the given timeframe. If it happens that the landlord still hasn’t complied with the remedial notice the housing authority will arrange so that the required works will be carried out.

However, if the landlord can defend himself that they have taken all possible actions to comply the legislation then they will not be held responsible for the alarms not being installed. For instance, if the tenant does not allow any access to the work to be completed.

If you are consulting an estate agency, then they will be the one to provide and install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on your behalf. We will inform you of all details and information of your responsibility as a landlord regarding the responsibilities of installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If you have more queries regarding the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms, then you can contact your estate agent for more information.