The government is pondering beefing up mandatory alarm requirements which landlords have to meet in England.
Until now private landlords have to fit one battery operated smoke alarm per storey and a Carbon Monoxide alarm where there is a solid fuel appliance such as a stove or fire.
However, the government has suggested that it is revising the requirements and now a draft of the amended regulations has been published - likely to come into effect in October.
Well known property law expert David Smith, a partner in the litigation team at JMW Solicitors, says: “The main change for private landlords is to up the Carbon Monoxide alarm requirement. CO alarms will now be required where there is any fitted combustion appliance other than a gas cooker.
“This will mean that gas and oil fired boilers - which did not previously need to have a CO alarm - will now need one. In practice, this means that almost all rental properties, other than those that have entirely electric heating, will need a CO alarm of some sort.
“These CO alarms can be battery operated and do not need to be wired in.
“In addition there is a new provision requiring a landlord to repair or replace a non-working smoke or CO alarm ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ if a tenant or their representative reports it as not working.”
Smith says there are transitional provisions in place so any tenancy that is new from 1 October 2022 will need to comply with the new CO alarm requirements.
He continues: “These will not apply to statutory periodic tenancies arising from an existing tenancy that started before that date or to renewals where the landlord and tenant and tenancy terms are essentially the same.
“So these changes will only kick in for entirely new tenancies at this stage.
“Enforcement remains by local authorities serving a remedial notice and then issuing a penalty of up to £5,000 if that is not complied with.
“The regulations are also being amended so that their scope is no longer limited to the private rented sector and all social landlords will need to comply as well. The same transitional provisions will apply to social landlords so they will only be obliged to deal with these changes for new tenants rather than engaging in a programme to fit CO and smoke alarms in their entire stock.”
Smith adds that there is also now an obligation for the Secretary of State to carry out a publish a periodic review of the regulations. The first one is due before October 2027.
Finally, a reminder that this change is for England only - Wales has its own smoke and carbon monoxide alarm provisions coming into effect in July as part of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.
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