New carbon monoxide and smoke alarm regulations for rental properties
The current regulations state that landlords of both social and private rental properties, must have one smoke alarm fitted per storey and a carbon monoxide alarm where there is a solid fuel appliance, such as an open fire. As of the 1st October 2022, The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 will come into force, with the aim of achieving parity between the rental sectors in respect of safety.
What does this mean for landlords?
Any room used as living accommodation containing a fixed combustion appliance must have a carbon monoxide alarm. This now extends to gas and oil-fired boilers, for example, however if you have a gas cooker at the property, although you have combustion in the kitchen, you do not need a carbon monoxide alarm as gas cookers come under different legislation.
Any non-working smoke or carbon monoxide alarms must be repaired or replaced ‘as soon as practically possible’ after a tenant notifies the landlord and should be checked every time an inventory is taken. It is also worth checking expiry dates on existing alarms, as after that date has passed the alarm is not serviceable, and this could have an effect on building insurance.
Who does this apply to?
The amendment only applies to private and social landlords in England and includes all tenancies currently in place.
How will it be enforced?
Enforcement of the regulations stays with the local authority. In the first instance, they can serve a remedial notice and if not complied with, they can issue a penalty of up to £5,000.
Choosing the right type of alarm to install
In England, the guidance recommends that smoke alarms meet BS 5839-6 standards, whilst carbon monoxide alarms should meet BS 50291 standards, and both can be either battery-powered or hardwired. The regs don’t state where alarms need to be located, yet guidance highlights that smoke alarms should be installed in a ‘circulation space’. Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed at head height, one to three metres away from potential sources of carbon monoxide.
Who is responsible for maintaining the alarms?
2015 guidance states ‘you can impose on the tenant the obligation to maintain, change the batteries etc’. The new guidance notes that tenants will need to ‘arrange for the replacement of batteries’, although they should let their landlord/management company know if the alarm still doesn’t work after that.
What should I do now?
If we manage your property for you, we will make sure your property is fully compliant under the regulations. If you manage the property yourself and would like us to arrange to have alarms installed, please contact us on email@example.com or call 01206 764499.
Sources: ‘Fitness of homes for human habitation: guidance for landlords’, The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022’, legislation.gov.uk.