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Private landlords urged to brush up on legislation

Private landlords and letting agents are failing to get to grips with several legislative changes in the private rented sector, it has been claimed.

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) says that its members are frequently receiving queries about new industry regulations, particularly those regarding carbon monoxide and smoke alarms and window blinds.

Since October 2015, it has been mandatory for a smoke alarm to be installed on every floor of a rental property where someone is living, partially living or is deemed as a habitable area, including bathrooms.

Landlords or their agents must also fit Carbon Monoxide alarms in rooms with a solid fuel-burning appliance, including wood burners and open fires.

Based on the most common queries regarding these regulations, the AIIC says that many landlords and agents’ are unsure of the required location and type of alarm as well as when they need to be tested.

What’s more, the association says its members have also reported receiving queries from landlords relating to safety requirements for blinds and curtains.

In 2014, the British Standards Institution introduced a new set of safety requirements, aiming to address child safety risks posed by blinds and curtains.

The requirements mean that any blind which is installed with cords and chains has to have breakaway connectors and cord and chain safety retainers.

The cords and chains must also be maintained at a minimum 1.5 metres from floor level.

If an accident involving a non-compliant blind or curtain track takes place in a rental property, the landlord could face prosecution from Trading Standards.

“A worryingly large number of letting agents and landlords are still completely unaware of some important new regulations according to our members, who are being asked to explain health and safety rules,” said Patricia Barber, chair of the AIIC.

“There is no excuse for anyone in our industry to ignore regulations, this could be dangerous and very costly in the long run.”

Barber says that landlords and letting agents must strive to ensure that they are clear on all their legal obligations and has urged other trade bodies to publicise as much helpful information as possible, especially as there is likely to be more new legislation in the future.

“As the UK’s longest established membership organisation for independent inventory clerks we take standards of working practices very seriously,” she added.

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