landlord and tenant law

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

On 1 October 2015, The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force.

This requires private sector landlords to fit a smoke alarm on each storey wholly or partly used as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance.

What is a solid fuel burning appliance?

Any open coal fire or stove and any biomass system that burns wood.

Carbon monoxide is produced as a result of incomplete combustion of solid fuels.

What is not a solid fuel?

Oil and gas are not solid fuels but carbon monoxide is often produced from a faulty boiler.

Although the Regulations do not require an alarm in rooms containing oil and gas burning appliances and landlords will not be prosecuted for failing to install in this scenario, landlords should take a common sense approach and are encouraged to install them.

Carbon monoxide does not smell so it cannot be detected without an alarm!

Penalties

Landlords must be compliant from 1 October 2015. There is no grace period.

Failure to abide by these regulations could result in landlords being fined up to 5,000 by the local authority.

What should landlords do?

As the Regulations apply to existing tenancies (see below), contact current tenants to arrange a suitable time to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as outlined below;

Install a smoke alarm on every storey/floor that is used as living accommodation. Heat detectors are not a suitable alternative;
Install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing an appliance that burns solid fuel e.g coal and wood. A purely decorative fireplace that does not function is not a solid fuel burning appliance; and
Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms at the start of any new tenancy.

What type of tenancies do the Regulations apply to?

All tenancies including those tenancies granted before 1 October 2015
Houses with multiple tenants commonly known as HMOs, following amendments made to the Housing Act 2004.

The regulations do not apply to landlords who share accommodation with their tenant nor social housing landlords.

Landlords can contact their local fire authority for further information regarding alarms.

Further reading:

Tenancy Agreements (Landlord and Tenant Law)

Renting a property: a checklist for tenants (Landlord and Tenant Law)

Legionnaires disease prevention in rented accommodation (Landlord and Tenant Law)

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