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Carbon monoxide and smoke alarm rules thrown into chaos

Date online: 14/09/2015

Regulations requiring private landlords to install a smoke alarm on every floor of their properties have been held up at the 11th hour after the legislation behind them was thrown out by the House of Lords.
 
Lords ruled that the government had done too little to inform landlords of their new responsibilities and that the legislation itself was poorly worded.

The delay could leave landlords and letting agents with just days to comply with the new laws, risking fines of £5000.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis announced in March that UK landlords would be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties from October 1.

The changes require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, test them at the start of every tenancy, and to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms where solid fuel heating systems are installed.

A recent survey by AXA Insurance claimed that 71% of landlords have not yet organised a carbon monoxide alarm in their rental property, with 54% are yet to install a fire alarm.

Ajay Jagota of North East sales and lettings firm KIS responded to the delay said: “Considering how cheap and easy it is to install carbon monoxide and fire alarms, making them mandatory in rented properties isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s simple common sense. At KIS we already go way beyond what the new rules require – with mandatory smoke alarm checks every three months, not just at the start of a tenancy, as part of a 21-point inspection covering everything from gutters to chimneys.

It’s just a shame these rules are needed to weed out the landlords who aren’t willing to take the most basic safety steps to protect their properties, let alone the lives of their tenants.

Unfortunately if the implementation of these rules had been an escape from a fire, I’m afraid that no-one would have made it out alive.

It isn’t even clear at this stage if the October 1st date for the introduction of the rules is still valid. There needs to be urgent clarity on this matter.

Making an entire new law in just six months was always far too ambitions. Having to allow further amendment and debate at this stage is beyond disorganised could leave landlords having days or hours to adapt to new laws, with almost no warning whatsoever.”

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