A race against time: Just two weeks to fit smoke alarms in all rental properties

The clock is now ticking fast after the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations were finally passed in Parliament.

Agents and landlords have only until October 1 to ensure that each floor of a rental property has a working smoke alarm, and that living spaces with solid fuel appliances have carbon monoxide alarms.

ARLA warned that it is “simply impracticable” for agents managing large portfolios to comply in time.

The green light for the Regulations came after the House of Lords last week refused to rubber stamp them – throwing into doubt whether they would be implemented in their current form, and if so when.

The Lords said there had not been nearly enough publicity about the Regulations and that they were badly drafted.

However, after final scrutiny, the peers decided to give the Regulations the go-ahead. The House of Commons also gave approval.

Yesterday, David Cox, managing director of ARLA, criticised the tight timescale.

He said: “Whilst ARLA is entirely supportive of the aims of the Regulations, we remain concerned that the Government has ignored calls from across the private rented sector to reconsider the timeframe for its implementation.

“Whilst these measures are entirely sensible, ARLA is concerned that landlords will not have enough time to comply with the requirements, as it is simply impracticable for letting agents, who may manage a huge amounts of properties, to gain access to the properties and to install these alarms on behalf of their clients in the timeframe allotted.

“On behalf of its members, ARLA has written to the Government on this issue to raise its concerns and suggested that all existing tenancies should be allowed to have until January 1 to comply.

“We were encouraged to see that Lord Marlesford showed support for our proposals in Parliament and again put our suggestion to the Government.

“However, despite our efforts it appears that the Government will now go ahead and implement the new requirements as planned.

“We urge our members to ensure that they do all they can to ensure that their properties comply with the new regulations before the measures come into effect.”

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17 Comments

  1. GPL

    To be fair, all properties should have them fitted anyway…… a relatively inexpensive lifesaver!

    The Legislation process however resembles the farce that we often see….. somewhere down the line however there must be deadline.

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    1. Will

      Agreed but such a deadline is wholly unreasonable. These people rush the legislation resulting in badly worded legislation and gives an unreasonable time scale. Fine if nothing goes wrong but it will for someone.  It is fundamentally wrong to set unreasonable  time scales – no doubt another Government trap to generate some fines.

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    2. seenitall

      to be fair – no  to be fair all properties do not have to have them.  It may be sensible to have them, it may be sensible for a tenant to install them for their own benefit.

      To Be Fair  a reasonable time span should be allowed for them to be installed by agents and landlord.   Legal and fair are not the same.

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  2. Gloslet

    It’s not so much do properties have them (as you say, hopefully most will already) it’s whether the ones that are there are in the right places to comply.

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  3. James Morris

    From reading the legislation – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2015/9780111133439/pdfs/ukdsi_9780111133439_en.pdf

    Bottom of page 7 states that the amendments apply only to licenses granted or renewed on or after the 1st October 2015.

    So does this not mean that essentially although these changes come into effect from the 1st October 2015, it actually takes effect only when the original tenancy has been renewed or when a new tenancy starts after this date.

    Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

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    1. Lee245397

      I don;t think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick! The Q & A booklet written by the government clearly states this applies to all new tenancies after the 01/10/2015. The booklet even defines what they mean by ‘new tenancy’. The definition is below

      “11. What do we mean by a ‘new tenancy’? A ‘new tenancy’ is a tenancy agreement that begins on or after 1 October 2015 and is not a renewal of a previous tenancy agreement.”

       

       

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      1. James Morris

        Thought as much, glad to see you understood the wording the same as me. Just checked with our gas safe guy, he has confirmed that from a gas safety point of view nothing has changed in their checks (he has checked with gas safe today) although he does recommended landlord’s fit CO alarms for peace of mind.

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  4. Lee245397

    d

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  5. Lee245397

    The governments own Q & A booklet states

    “For each new tenancy beginning on or after 1 October 2015, landlords must check that the required alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy. The first day of the tenancy is the date stipulated in the tenancy agreement, even where the tenant decides to actually move into the property on a later date.”

    This clearly means the new legislation is for all new tenancies AFTER the 01/10/2015 so why are we saying there is a race against time, is there any grace period etc?

    Looks like people are mis-interpreting things here. It would be unreasonable to pass legislation and only give landlords two weeks to comply.

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    1. markbrev

      Also from the same booklet:

      “15. Do the regulations apply where the premisies are let under an existing tenancy? Yes. The regulations will require private sector landlords to install at least one smoke alarm on each storey of the premises, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, with effect from 1 October 2015. ”

      This is the government and the PRS remember. Shafting us is considered sport.

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      1. Lee245397

        Hmmm, conflicting information in the same guidance! Thanks for highlighting that

         

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    2. Peter

      When will we learn. Never, never pay any attention to Q&A’s issued by the Government; have we all forgotten about the Q&A issued on deposit protection legislation!

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    3. Peter

      “This clearly means the new legislation is for all new tenancies AFTER the 01/10/2015 so why are we saying there is a race against time, is there any grace period etc?”

       

      No it does not. the paragraph you quoted simply refers to the checking of the alarms and not the fitting of them.

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  6. H4U

    Disagree with ARLA, when providing a rented accommodation you were already required to fit smoke alarms under HHSRS regulations, avoid neglect prosecution and to ensure your insurance is valid!

    So we are talking about “carbon monoxide alarms” does not take long to fit at all.

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  7. Robert May

    In a single day this one story has received more views and more comment than both parts of the two part Chesterman inquisition on EAT.

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  8. Hugo Oliveira

    Am I misreading or the new legislation applies only to “solid fuel burning combustion appliances”?

    Are gas appliances (i.e boiler, gas hob) not covered by this new legislation?

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    1. James Morris

      Carbon Monoxide alarms are required for solid fuel appliances only, gas stuff is not effected (even though they can give off CO as well)

      Although i’d recommend landlords having CO alarms anyway for peace of mind.

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