Responsible landlords have always ensured the safety of their tenants. However, did you know that under The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 it is a legal requirement for most tenanted properties to have a smoke alarm fitted in any room used wholly or partly as living accommodation? Landlords can be fined up to £5,000 for non-compliance. “Fair enough”, we say as fire alarms save lives and are not expensive to install.
The regulations cover tenanted houses, flats and bedsits. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are separately regulated and tenancies based on a lease exceeding seven years are exempt.
The law says that a smoke alarm must be fitted on every storey where at least one room is used wholly or partly as living accommodation of any kind, including halls and landing. On any floor sub-divided into separate units, an alarm should ideally be fitted in each unit, although a communal one on a landing outside flats on the same floor is also acceptable.
If a property, such as a maisonette, occupies more than one storey, an alarm should be fitted on all floors and should be able to be heard by everyone on each storey.
Ideally, hard-wired alarms should be fitted and a feed from a convenient lighting point can sometimes be used to avoid expensive rewiring work, as long as this has a battery back-up. Stand-alone alarms can also be used but ideally choose one with a 10-year battery life.
Carbon Monoxide detectors should also be fitted in rooms where a tenanted property has a solid fuel appliance or open fire.
The regulations state that both types of alarm must be working at the start of any new tenancy, and the tenant must be informed of their responsibility to test alarms at regular intervals thereafter, usually every three months, by simply pushing a button.
This is just one of over 100 pieces of regulation affecting landlords. For free advice with a smile on the other 99+, you know who to call!