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Extra responsibilities for landlords as new smoke alarm regulations come into force

Date online: 05/10/2015

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, which came in to force on 1 October, state that detectors must be installed in any room where there is a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a gas fire or central heating boiler. The law also requires landlords to ensure that the alarms are maintained in good working order.

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a serious and preventable form of poisoning. According the Office for National Statistics (ONS), each year there are around 40 deaths from accidental CO poisoning in England and Wales*.

The new regulations will be enforced by local authorities, which have the power to serve a remedial order on any landlords who do not comply with these new regulations. Local authorities also have the power to enter the premises within 48 hours to carry out the remedial work and install an alarm if necessary. In the most serious cases, a fine of up to £5,000 can be imposed on landlords who fail to comply with the law.

The health and safety management team at Capita’s property and infrastructure business works with clients to ensure they are fully compliant with relevant health and safety legislation.

Jonathan Hughes, head of training and litigation at Capita’s property and infrastructure business, said: “We warmly welcome this common sense approach to tenant safety. We are all too aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide and always advise landlords to take responsibility and provide carbon monoxide detectors for the safety of their tenants. For years landlords have had to provide smoke alarms, and now we see the law extended to ensure that they also have to provide carbon monoxide alarms.

I would encourage all households to ensure that they have a working carbon monoxide alarm, which cost around £10 to buy. Is it really worth risking the safety of your family for the price of four cups of coffee?”

Jonathan Samuel, managing director of Gas Safe Register, said: “While we welcome any regulations which help to increase tenant safety, a carbon monoxide alarm is no substitute for correct installation and servicing of your gas appliances.

We urge all householders to check gas appliances for warning signs that they are not working correctly, such as a lazy yellow flame, black marks or stains around the appliance. In addition, all appliances should be safety checked every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. As a second line of defence, fit a CO alarm in your home.”

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