Changes to smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations for landlords

Regulations for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in England are due to be revised in October, it has been announced.

All tenancies in England will need to comply with the changes, including unlicensed HMOs, and excluding accommodation such as student halls, hotels, and care homes.

What are the amendments?

The new guidelines call for a minimum of one smoke alarm on each level of the home that has a room used as living accommodation.

This rule has already been long in place for private landlords but will now extend to social landlords.

Additionally, a carbon monoxide alarm must be placed in any room that contains a fixed combustion appliance, and which is used as living accommodation.

These appliances might include a log-burning stove, or gas or oil boilers, but gas cookers are excluded.

Presently, landlords are responsible for installing and testing alarms at the beginning of the tenancy, but it is the tenant’s obligation to repair or replace it.

However, in the new changes, landlords will be liable for repairing or replacing any smoke and carbon monoxide alarms themselves once notified by their tenants.

This will come into play as of 1 October 2022, but it is still imperative for tenants to take the responsibility of reporting these problems.

Mains or battery-powered alarms?

All alarms must meet British Standards BS 5839-6 for smoke alarms, and British Standards BS 50291 for carbon monoxide alarms.

Whether they provide mains or battery-powered alarms is the choice of the landlord.

When it comes to battery-powered alarms, the Government has recommended tenants to replace the batteries themselves. If this is not possible, or issues persist, their landlord should be notified.

Landlords must continue to ensure that alarms are working correctly on the first day of a tenancy, and a record must be kept of this.

If these rules are violated, landlords may be accountable for remedial warnings, and an eventual fine of up to £5,000.

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