In a bid by the government to improve safety for tenants The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations were introduced on 1 October 2015, these were aimed at private rented sector landlords.
The Regulations provide that there must be a working smoke alarm on every floor of a rental property which is used as living accommodation. There must also be a carbon monoxide alarm in every room used as living accommodation and where solid fuel is used. The landlord must also ensure that all such equipment is in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
After the initial test on the first day of the tenancy, it then becomes the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that the alarms are in good working order. It is thought that monthly testing is sufficient for the testing of the alarms.
The first date of the tenancy is the date that is referred to in the tenancy agreement, therefore even if a tenant does not take occupation on the date referred to in the agreement, the landlord must ensure that all alarms are in working order at the beginning of the tenancy.
The Regulations apply to existing tenancies as well as new tenancies, so if a property was let prior to 1 October 2015, the Landlord must ensure that they are now complying with the Regulations.
Licensed houses in multiple occupation are already subject to similar requirements.
Social housing landlords are not currently required to comply with the regulations.
The local housing authority is responsible for enforcing the regulations and they are able to issue
remedial notices requiring landlords to comply within 28 days.
If the landlord fails to comply, the local housing authority must arrange for alarms to be fitted or tested. The local housing authority can levy a civil penalty charge on non-compliant landlords of up to £5000.