The Government has announced this week plans to ensure landlords install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted in their properties – from October 2015.
Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis on 11th March. The move is set to help prevent up to 36 deaths and 1,375 fire-related injuries per year and comes with strong support after a consultation on property condition in the private rented sector.
Private landlords are expected to be supported by their local fire and rescue to meet their new responsibilities, with the provision of free alarms through government grant funding. This is part of a wider government initiative to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety, while at the same time, avoiding regulation which would inevitably cause rent increases and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%. The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection. But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.”
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning. People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm. That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.”
The proposed changes to the law would make it mandatory for landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their properties, testing them at the beginning of each tenancy, additionally they would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in ‘high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed’.
Landlords who fail to abide by the changes could face sanctions and a civil penalty fine of up to £5,000. The new measures would bring private rented properties in line with existing building regulations (which already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed) and in line with other measures the government has taken to improve standards in the private rented sector, without wrapping the industry up in red tape.