For those who aren’t fully aware, the legislation around smoke & carbon monoxide detectors has changed from the 1st October 2022 onwards.
In this blog, we’ll be covering what you need to know as a Landlord in order to stay compliant with the recent changes in legislation.
The changes in legislation apply to houses, flats & HMOs with harsh penalties if you fail to comply.
What do the changes require?
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations call for…
- Landlords to ensure that at least one smoke alarm is fitted on each floor of the property where a room is currently being rented. (This has been in place since 2015!)
- Landlords to check, maintain & ensure that all smoke detectors & CO alarms are repaired or replaced once they are found to be faulty.
Landlords to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in each room where a fixed combustion appliance is present (excluding gas cookers.)
Smoke Detector Requirements 2022
From the 1st October 2015 onwards, in compliance with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, Landlords need to ensure that each storey of the property that’s used as living accommodation is fitted with a smoke alarm whilst the premises are occupied under an active tenancy.
This covers (but is not limited to) rooms like kitchens, bathrooms, halls & landings, mezzanines, dining rooms & toilets.
Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements 2022
From the 1st October, all rooms within a property that…
- Contain appliances which burn, or are capable of burning fuel,
- OR are partly or wholly used as living accommodation…
Will be expected to be fitted with a Carbon Monoxide detector.
This would comprehensively cover appliances like gas boilers, coal/open fires or wooden stoves.
However, if the fuel burning appliance is a gas cooker, you won’t need one.
Most properties, however, contain a boiler within the kitchen area. If this is the case for you and you have other fuel burning appliances within the same area, one CO alarm would suffice.
What type of alarm should I use?
The regulations don’t strictly cover the ins and outs of detectors. They only state that they should work.
Ideally, however, smoke detectors should be mains connected with a linked alarm system. This is in line with modern standards stated by building regulations.
Standalone battery-powered detectors are likely to be deemed a hazard as they rely on batteries that could die at any given time.
Where do the alarms go?
Typically, smoke & CO detectors come with manufacturer’s guidance which states where the alarms should be placed. The legislation states that Landlords should follow manufacturer guidance.
Usually, however, CO alarms should be placed at head height and no more than 3 meters away from the fuel burning appliance.
If you fail to comply...
If Landlords are found to be in breach of the new legislation, they could face harsh penalties for failure to comply.
You could be given a penalty charge of up to £5000 within six weeks of the breach being found.
If your property is licensed and you fail to comply, you could face an even harsher charge of up to £30,000.
Who is exempt?
There’s a small list of properties exempt from these new regulations so it’s always worth checking.
Some tenancies that are exempt include:
- Student accommodation & halls.
- Long lease tenancies (more than 7 years.)
Tenancies which share occupation with a Landlord or a member of a Landlord’s family.
How do I appeal a penalty charge?
If a local authority chooses to uphold an issued penalty charge, there is a right to appeal which goes to a first-tier tribunal.
However, you must qualify against the grounds of appeal.
- The issuing of an unreasonable penalty charge.
- The decision made was incorrect and found to be in error of law or fact.
- The choice to impose the penalty is unreasonable for any other reason.
Who enforces these regulations?
Ultimately, the enforcement boils down to the local authorities who would need to serve a ‘remedial notice’ within 21 days once a breach is found.
If the Landlord chooses to make representations against the local authority, they have a 28 day time frame to respond to the ‘remedial notice.’
A local authority must serve a remedial notice within 21 days where they have reason to believe that the landlord is in breach of any of these duties relating to smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms.
The outcome of the review needs to be given to the Landlord in writing within 35 days of the original notice being served.
However, if the Landlord can prove that they’ve taken reasonable precautions to fall in line with compliance.
This could exempt Landlords who have been refused access by their tenants.
My tenant refuses access...
As covered in the above, Landlords would need to be able to demonstrate that they’ve taken the right steps to comply with legislation.
Landlords could potentially write to their tenants to state that their attempt to gain access is in compliance with legal requirements and for the tenant’s own safety.
We’ve written a blog surrounding what options you have if you’re trying to gain access.
A paper trail showing you’ve actively attempted to fall in line will always work in your favour too…
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