New Regulations for Landlords – Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 will come into force in England on 1 October 2015 even though they have only just been approved by Parliament. They impose significant new duties on private landlords for new tenancies starting after that date. The aim of the regulations is to reduce the number of injuries or deaths from smoke or carbon monoxide poisoning in the private rented sector.

From 1 October 2015, a landlord of a private sector tenancy must ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. Also, a carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel appliance.

At the start of a new tenancy, the landlord or the landlord’s agent must carry out checks to ensure that each smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins.  This does not include renewals or statutory periodic tenancies arising from fixed term tenancies that commenced prior to this date.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published a booklet containing guidance for landlords and tenants.

DCLG: The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015: Q&A Booklet for the Private Rented Sector – landlords and tenants (September 2015).

Significant concerns were raised in the House of Lords that not enough has been done to inform landlords of the changes and that the legislation is badly drafted. Landlord who do not act quickly risk a £5,000 fine. See Hansard, House of Lords debates, 14 September 2015, at column 1720.