Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to be compulsory

Landlords and landladies will be under legal obligation to ensure working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are installed in their rental properties, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis has announced.

The measure, which will apply to all rented private and social housing properties, is expected to take effect in October 2015 across England and Wales. Scotland has these requirements in place already.

Although most property owners do provide safety measures for their tenants – in 1988, just 8% of properties yielded a smoke alarm and that figure has now reached 90%1 – but Lewis states that a law change is necessary to ensure wider public safety.

The reform is expected to prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries per year.

England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are likely to assist with the initiative, providing free alarms and advice for property owners in their areas, funded by government grants.

The proposed changes will require landladies/lords to install smoke alarms on each floor of their property and carbon monoxide alarms in high-risk rooms, testing all appliances at the start of each tenancy.

Those who fail to comply will face sanctions and could be fined up to £5,000.

WPJ Heating is currently installing alarms for property owners keen to avoid the October rush as there is likely to be increased demand for the service once the changes comes into effect, potentially placing those who are late to secure an appointment at risk of breaching the law.

1 Gov.uk, 2015. Tenants safer under new government measures. [Online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tenants-safer-under-new-government-measures. [Accessed 17th April 2015].

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