New regulations are due this year requiring landlords to install and maintain smoke alarms and where appropriate carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in their privately rented properties according to reports on landlordzone.co.uk

The aim is to improve fire safety and try to prevent deaths and injuries each year sustained during house fires.  It is expected that all of England’s fire and rescue authorities will back the new regulations and there may be provision for free alarms via grant funding from the government.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%”

The landlord or managing agent will be responsible to ensure that all the alarms are working and replace any that are faulty prior to every new tenancy.   Lewis added: “But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.”

Mr Stephen Williams, Communities Minister said: “People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.

“That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.”

The regulations will require landlords to ensure that a smoke alarm is located on each floor that is occupied.  Also CO alarms will have to be installed in rooms that have an appliance that uses solid fuel. Councils will be given new powers to ensure the regulations are adhered to and can impose a fine of up to £5,000 on any landlord not complying.

The regulations are in draft stage and, subject to approval, are expected to apply from October 2015

Not only can smoke alarms save lives, they can also ensure earlier notification of fires to the emergency services, potentially reducing the extent of the damage. A simple but effective form of risk management for your rental property.

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