NEW RULING WILL STRENGTHEN FIRE SAFETY MEASURES IN RENTED HOMES

21 04 2015

At the Local Government Association’s annual Fire Conference, staged earlier this month, Communities Minister Penny Mordaunt announced that the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in all private and social rented property is to be made compulsory.

The new ruling covers all rented properties in England and Wales.

In Scotland it is already a legal requirement to provide ‘hard wired’ smoke alarms on stair landings and in living rooms, along with heat detectors in kitchens area and carbon monoxide alarms wherever there is a gas appliance.

But whilst the largest majority of residential property landlords in England and Wales already fit fire and smoke alarms it does not apply ‘across the board’.

Fire safety considerations and compliance are a critical factor when putting a property up for rental and this has always been a complicated area, with different regulations for different types of properties in different parts of the UK.

Scotland has previously led the way in terms of tightened regulation, but this new ruling, making detectors and smoke alarms compulsory, is a major step forward and should provide clarity for the rest of the UK’s landlord population.

Every type of property has its own set of specific fire safety requirements – from bed-sits, through to new builds and much more demanding Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s).

The new ruling on compulsory smoke and carbon monoxide alarms follows years of campaigning by the Chief Fire Officers Association, supported by the British Property Federation.

When it comes into force, around October of this year, it will put an obligation on landlords and their agents to ensure that working detectors are in place at the beginning of each tenancy. There will also be a requirement for tenants to regularly test the equipment and report any faults.

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