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Imminent new smoke and carbon monoxide rules – what do landlords need to be aware of?

New smoke and carbon monoxide alarm rules are likely due to be implemented soon, possibly this year, which landlords should be made aware of according to an industry trade body.

Since October 2015, there has been a legal requirement for a smoke alarm to be fitted on each floor of the property where a room is used as living accommodation - a reminder given by Propertymark to landlords and agents.

However, at the end of November 2021, the government concluded its consultation with regard to a proposed extension of the rules relating to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in domestic rented accommodation in England.

For many years competent gas engineers have been making a recommendation for the installation of carbon monoxide alarms and, as such, the majority of landlords will already be compliant with the new rules since the installation of alarms has always been considered best practice and something actively encouraged by agents.

These updated rules state that at the start of each new tenancy landlords and agents are expected to ensure that the alarms are functional. These rules may be enforced as soon as this year and a carbon monoxide alarm will be a requirement in any space where a solid fuel such as biomass, coal, or wood is being burned - also including oil, LPG, and open fires, only excluding gas.

Housing minister Eddie Hughes has further outlined these changes now that the regime is getting tougher, saying that carbon monoxide alarms will be mandatory in rooms with a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers) in both private and social rented homes. These alarms will also be mandatory upon installation of any heating appliance (excluding gas cookers) in all tenures through building regulations and faulty alarms are to be repaired or replaced by private and social landlords once informed.

The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, communicating to the industry via Propertymark, has urged all private landlords, including registered providers of social housing, to begin installation and repair of these alarms immediately if they believe they are not already compliant.

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, says: “Parity across tenures is a key focus of the UK Government and extending the regulations to gas appliances will provide additional levels of protection for tenants.

“Letting agents should be aware that the changes will introduce an obligation on private landlords to repair or replace any alarm which is found to be faulty during the period of a tenancy.

“The current regulations only oblige landlords to check that alarms are in working order on the first day of a new tenancy. Ahead of implementation, agents and their landlords should start now to plan for the changes and the impact on management practices going forward.”

As a landlord, it’s vital that you get ahead of the game and adhere fully to all smoke and carbon monoxide obligations. If you are unsure about anything, call upon your letting agent for help.

Here at Holland Properties, we have been an established estate and letting agent since 1999 and can help to manage your tenancies in a smooth and hassle-free manner. We operate across London, with our head office based in Docklands.

For further guidance on any part of the lettings process, please contact us today. You can also request a free and instant online valuation to see how much rent you could be charging in the current marketplace.