2nd February 2016
Landlords are now required, by law, to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties. The changes to the law require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.
Landlords also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed. Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.
The change brings private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.
The move will help prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year.
The measure took effect in October 2015, and comes with strong support after a consultation on property condition in the private rented sector.
England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected to support private landlords in their own areas to meet their new responsibilities with the provision of free alarms, with grant funding from government.
This is part of wider government moves to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety, while at the same time avoiding regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants.
In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%.
The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but the law has now changed to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.
But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, all tenants must make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.
People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.