From the 1 October 2015 landlords will have to ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. They will also have to put a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel is burnt, such as wood, coal or biomass and includes open fires. It does not include gas, oil or LPG. The alarms need not be hard wired; battery operated alarms are fine.
The Landlord or the Agent will be responsible for testing the alarms at the start of tenancy date for all new tenancies after 1st October 2015. This does not include a periodic statutory tenancy which starts following the end of a shorthold tenancy.
To test the alarm it is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guide; in most cases simply pressing the button to ensure it is working is enough. The testing of the alarm will need to be recorded on file, so it is recommended to be included in the inventory or that where possible the tenant should sign to confirm the alarms were working. It should be noted that the start of tenancy date is the first contractual date of the tenancy, regardless if the tenant does not physically move in on this date.
During the tenancy the liability for the testing of the alarms does then lie with the tenant and the expectation is on them to keep the alarms in good working order i.e. replacing the batteries to the alarm. Should the alarm itself become faulty however, the liability is with the Landlord to replace this.
A booklet from the Department for Communities and Local Government can be accessed here The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
The local authority will be charged with implementing these new regulations. If the local authority thinks that a landlord has not implemented the new rules correctly they will issue a notice advising the landlord what they need to do to resolve the problem. The local authority must give the notice within 21 days from when they believe that the landlord has breached the rules. The landlord has 28 days to respond and/or make good what is needed to comply. It is to be noted that if the landlord can show they have taken sufficient action to remedy the situation, but have not been able to do so due to the tenant, then the landlord cannot be held responsible.
If landlords are made aware that they are not meeting the regulated standard, and do not take action in the permitted time frame, they can face a substantial fixed penalty charge of £5,000.
Full legislation relation to this can be read here The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Legislation
At Hamilton Chess we are members of ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents), so you can rest assured that we take pride in being aware of legislative changes, ensuring our Landlords on our Full Management service are both up to date and covered in this perspective. As the rental sector comes under more scrutiny and subject to new legislation it is becoming more and more important to ensure you use an ARLA agent such as Hamilton Chess to ensure your peace of mind as a Landlord.
Landlords on Hamilton Chess’ Full Management service will benefit from Hamilton Chess being able to advise on and arrange installation of alarms where necessary, plus the recording of their operation on the start of tenancy.
If you have any questions or if you would like to know more about our Full Management service then please call us on 01753 624000, or email firstname.lastname@example.org whereby we’d be happy to help .
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