Hold on tight because this is going to be another one of those rip-roaring, edge of your seat news blogs on new legislation. If you have any Red Bull left from reading our last legislation update grab one now as your going to need it!
So, the situation is as of the 1st October 2015 new regulations were introduced in England that require both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in rented residential accommodation. These new regulations apply to both flats and houses, and failure to comply could lead to a civil penalty fine of up to £5000.00! A little more awake now?
These requirements are imposed on the immediate landlord although there is an exemption for providers of social housing. It is also a little different for HMO's and selective licensing as the responsibility to ensure that these mandatory conditions are complied with falls on the license holder.
This new legislation applies to residential premises (all or part of which comprise a dwelling) let under a specific tenancy or a licence granting one or more people the right to occupy the premises as their only or main residence. Although there are a few exemptions:
The landlord must ensure that a smoke alarm in working order is fitted on each storey of the premises where there is a room used for living accommodation (e.g. bedroom, lounge, kitchen, dining-room, bathroom/toilet, halls & landings). With regard to flats over one floor, it would be advisable for there to be at least one working smoke alarm within the flat itself, and one outside the flat e.g. a communal alarm.
The new legislation does not state as to the type or model of alarm to be used, although it would be sound advice to use an interlinked or hard wired alarm system for reliability and effectiveness.
With regard to carbon monoxide alarms, a working carbon monoxide alarm must be provided by the landlord in any room of the premises used as living accommodation which contains a solid fuel appliance such as a wood burning stove or an open coal fire. This also includes equipment such as a solid fuel Aga in a kitchen.
The new legislation states that the landlord is required to carry out a check on these smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in good working order on the day a new tenancy begins. An ideal time to do this would be during the Check-In with the tenant on the first day of the tenancy.
For these purposes a new tenancy does not include:
It would be good advice to not only test these alarms on the day a new tenancy begins, but also at regular intervals throughout the tenancy. Again, a mid-term inspection would be an ideal time to do this. Taking a record of each check would also be advisable on the chance you need to rely on it at a later date.
There is no harm in requesting that the tenants carryout their own regular checks, but under no circumstances should this be relied on.
So, who is to enforce these new regulations, and what is the consequence for failure to comply? It is the local authority who's responsible for enforcing this new legislation and they will serve a remedial notice within 21 days on any landlord they believe is in breach of the legislation.
If the local authority decides to impose a penalty it could be as much as £5000.00, and a penalty charge notice must be served on the landlord within six weeks from when it is first satisfied that a breach has occurred. The landlord has a right to appeal against the penalty notice and payment of the penalty is suspended pending the appeal. The grounds of appeal are:
There you go, not quite so gruelling a read as the Section 21 update so if feel you could digest a little more information on this topic you can gain a very in-depth insight from the horse's mouth right here.
Redbrick Properties was established back in 2002 and since then has gone from strength to strength building up a fine portfolio of residential properties along the way.
We could never be accused of being a faceless agency as both Mark and I still work front-line in the office along side our experienced and capable staff.