We understand the Government has now decided to beef up the mandatory alarm requirements that we have been discussing for some considerable time in England. This is to include CO2 alarms and smoke alarms…
Until now private landlords have had to fit one battery operated smoke alarm per storey and a carbon monoxide alarm where there is a solid fuel appliance, stove or fire.
The Government has now revised the requirements and has drafted an amendment to the regulations. This has just been published. We understand that will more than likely come into effect in October if not before.
The main change for landlords is that a carbon monoxide alarm will now be required where there is any fitted combustion appliance other than a gas cooker. The biggest change will mean the gas and all fire boilers – which did not previously need a CO2 alarm – will now need one. This means that almost every rental property other than those that have entirely electric heating will need a CO2 alarm of some sort.
These CO2 alarms can be battery operated and do not need to be wired in, at this moment in time. There are potentially further provisions coming down the line for these.
In addition there is a new provision requiring a landlord to repair or replace non-working smoke or carbon monoxide alarms as soon as possible. Once the tenant or a representative has reported it is not working.
This means this is a big change from where tenants were responsible once they moved in to replace any batteries. It will now fall on the landlord to carry out. These will not apply for statutory periodic tenancies arriving from an exiting tenancy starting before that date. Or, to renewals where the landlord and tenant and the tenancy terms are essentially the same. However, they more than likely will kick in just for new tenancies and we understand the date will be the 1st October 2022.
Fines and Penalties.
We understand that enforcement will still remain with the local authority serving a remedial notice and then issuing a fine of up to £5,000 if not complied with.
However, there are even further penalties. Not are there only potential fines for landlords but it could be a criminal offence. Especially if there is personally injury or death. We would always recommend to landlords that they look at dealing with the provisions now rather than later. They could always be installed by plumbers when doing a gas safety.
The regulations are also being amended to that their scope is no longer limited to the private rented sector. This will also include all social landlords who will need to comply as well. The same provisions will apply to social landlords. They they will only be liable to deal with the changes with new tenants. Not having to than change their programme to fit a CO2 and smoke alarms in their entire stock.
We understand that this is a change for England only. Wales has its own smoke and carbon monoxide alarm provisions. These came into effect July as part of the renting homes (Wales) Act 2016.
Not only is this a move towards to new fire regulations it is also to bring landlords inline and improve their properties to electric rather than gas.