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Changes in legislation for Landlords
 
It was announced on 11th March 2015 that new legislation will come into force on the 1st October 2015 that concerns Landlords of residential premises.

Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties in England.
  
 
Who will the new legislation cover? 
 
This new legislation will cover private landlords. Communities Minister Stephen Williams said yesterday: "We're determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning."
 
Even so, Aico would recommend that any type of landlord (private or social) should recognise the duty of care they have for their tenants to install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms.
 
This new legislation is for England only.
 
Landlords in Scotland are already required by law to install smoke and carbon monoxide under existing legislation.
 
Click here to see specific legislation for Scottish landlords.



What needs to be fitted and to what standards?
 
It is The British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 that is regarded as the Standard to adhere to when fitting Smoke Alarms and BS EN 50292:2013 when fitting Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms in residential/domestic premises. These define the type of alarms that require fitting and where they should be sited when complying with Building Regulations.

On the Government's website it reads as:
 
"The proposed changes to the law would require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

This would bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed."
 
 
Section 150 of the Energy Act states: "the appropriate standard", in relation to a smoke alarm or a carbon monoxide alarm, means the standard (if any) that is specified in, or determined under, regulations;"

We expect clarification of alarm types and siting requirements to be defined soon, but we know that landlords must fit a working smoke alarm on every storey of the property and a CO alarm in every room with a solid fuel burning appliance. Even so, Aico would recommend that a CO alarm is fitted in every room with any type of fuel burning appliance. They must be tested and in working order as each new tenant moves into the property. The Smoke and CO alarms should meet the relevant European and British Standards.

 
 Who will enforce this new law? 
 
Local Authorities will be enforcing this from 1st October 2015. Some Local Authorities are already prepared to do this as they have a licencing scheme for HMOs (House in Multiple Occupancy), where smoke alarms are a requirement.
 
  
What is the penalty for non-compliance?
 
Local Authorities will be able to serve a remedial notice on a landlord where they have reasonable grounds to believe the landlord has not complied with these new legal requirements for Smoke and CO alarms.
 
If a landlord fails to comply with the remedial notice within 28 days of the notice being served, the Local Authority under a duty (where the occupier consents) can arrange remedial action. This is to ensure that tenants are protected by working alarms and may involve action to install, repair or check the alarms are in proper working order.
 
In addition, Local Authorities can impose a civil penalty charge of up to £5000 on landlords who are in breach of their duty to comply with the remedial notice.
 
 What we know:
 
·         Private landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties in England.
·         These alarms should meet the relevant European and British Standards.
·         This new legislation will come into force on the 1st October 2015 (subject to Parliamentary approval).
·         Local Authorities will enforce this legislation.
·         Landlords could receive a penalty charge of up to £5000.
 
However, there are some uncertainties in areas of this new law, so this information may be subject to change. Aico will attempt to keep you updated as more information comes through.
 
If you are a Landlord and would like to find out more about how to fit Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms in accordance with the relevant British Standards you can register for your FREE copy of the Landlord's Guide to Smoke & CO Alarms here.
 
Visit - http://www.aico.co.uk/landlordlegislation2015.html



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