There are a couple of important updates coming to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations which are expected to be in force as early as Autumn 2022.
Landlords need to be aware of these updates as they will change the responsibility for repairs as well as the criteria of the location of the alarms.
Here are the two changes which we are told will be taking place:
Currently, the rules in England are that fire alarms are tested at the start of the tenancy by the landlord (or their agent) . However, throughout the tenancy, it is by default the responsibility of the tenant to check and repair any smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.
However, the proposed change (if they are as we have been told) will mean that landlords will be responsible for repairing smoke or CO alarms, during the tenancy, once they are told they are faulty or need replacing.
There does not appear to be any specific time period for repairing and changing a faulty alarm, but as it is a matter of safety for the tenants and the property, best to get this done promptly.
The criteria for the location of CO alarms are also predicted to change. Since 2015, landlords have been required to put a CO alarm in any room where solid fuel is burnt, such as wood, coal or biomass. This includes open fires, but not (strangely) gas or oil.
However, the new regulations are expected to require mandatory CO alarms in rooms with a fixed combustion appliance in private rented homes, and when installing any heating appliance – excluding gas cookers. For example, in the room where a boiler is located.
While this isn’t mandatory now, many landlords already have CO alarms in rooms of fixed combustion appliances for safety reasons. However, the new regs are likely to create a legal obligation.
Currently, there is no set date for when these changes will be enacted, but it is likely to be around Autumn or Winter 2022.
They are expected to come into force immediately with no ‘grace period’ which is why landlords are being urged to ensure they are compliant in advance of this.
For more information see the government announcement here.