There may be new and stricter legal requirements on the way for private landlords with regards to carbon monoxide alarm installation according to a consultation document issued by the government.
The suggestion is that landlords not only fit an alarm into any room that has a fixed combustion appliance, such as a gas boiler or wood burner, but also ensure it is in proper working order on the first day of every new tenancy, and repair or replace alarms reported as having problems during the tenancy.
For just over five years it’s been compulsory for landlords in England are already required to have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a coal fire or wood burning stove.
Until now the government has encouraged landlords to fit them in all rooms with gas appliances too.
Much of the new consultation document is aimed at the social renting sector - considered behind the private rental sector in this regard - but the document gives some useful background information.
For example, during a review of the existing legislation - the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 - it’s been revealed that of those who had a smoke alarm installed at the time of a fire, around half (49 per cent) of households reported that the alarm did not go off at the time of the incident.
Of these, just under a quarter report that the fire was too far away from the smoke alarm.
One element of the new proposals says: “We are proposing that both private and social sector landlords be obliged to repair or replace a faulty alarm during the tenancy, where a fault is reported to them. Whilst we are not proposing proactive checking of alarms during the tenancy by the landlord, we do think it is right that landlords should replace faulty alarms, particularly in the social rented sector where tenancies run for an average of 12 years whilst a smoke alarm has an average lifespan of 10 years.”
Elsewhere in the document it says: “We plan to commence requirements as soon as practicable following the laying of regulations. Delaying implementation could put lives at risk. However, a phased implementation could help landlords manage the additional costs by, for example, installing an alarm when they next visit the property, during a tenancy or gas safety check, rather than having to make an extra visit. As part of this consultation, we are seeking evidence of the necessity of a phased implementation approach.”
You can respond to the consultation at any time up to January 11, and you can see the document here.