Smoke and CO alarms to be installed in all private rental properties
New legislation requires all private residential rented properties in England to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed. Find out why with Direct Line for Business.
New legislation, approved by Parliament on the 16 September 2015, requires all private residential rented properties in England to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed from the 1 October 2015. As part of the working party that developed the Bill, Direct Line for Business used insight and extensive knowledge to identify key risks to tenants that could be reduced by simple measures. The new rule comes into place as the government moves to ensure sufficient measures are in place to help protect public safety.
Why is this important?
Fires in residential properties can be fatal and, resulted in over 200 deaths last year, according to gov.co.uk. Carbon Monoxide poisoning, also known as the ‘silent killer’, saw around 200 people being admitted with symptoms into hospital last year – with the NHS claiming there are fatal results for around 40 people each year.
What you need to do as a landlord
Landlords will need to make sure that at the very least there is a smoke alarm fitted on each floor of their property. They also need to ensure that they have a carbon monoxide alarm in each room where there are solid fuel appliances - for example, where there is a working fire place that burns coal or wood. While the new legislation does not require carbon monoxide alarms to be installed near gas boilers or in kitchens where gas appliances are present, it is still advisable to have an alarm in place, to reduce any risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Landlords need to be aware that there is no grace period so making sure these alarms are in place before the 1 October 2015 is vital. The local authority will be responsible for enforcement, and should anything happen after this time and it is found that there was not a working fire or carbon monoxide alarm in place, landlords will face a hefty penalty charge of £5000. Plus if there is a fire, there will be additional costs associated with repairing the damage to the property and any liability claims following an incident.
How to overcome any challenges
If gaining access to your property is a problem before the new rule comes into play, you should write a letter to your tenant, letting them know about the legislation and explain that it is for their own safety.
And as it is a landlord’s responsibility to check the alarms are working at the start of each new tenancy, it is also worth adding this to your inventory so that your new tenants can sign and agree that the alarms are in place and in good working order before they move in.
Direct Line for Business has also developed the ‘Mobile Landlord app’ which helps landlords manage their properties more effectively. With the reminder functionality, landlords can track important dates such as making sure all your alarms get checked or replaced. You can also keep all your records and information in a single place, store your documents in a secure and easy to access format and track your expenses and ongoing jobs.
The app is free to download and available on iPhone and Android. Search ‘Mobile Landlord’.