If you’re a landlord, then you’ll no doubt be more than aware that since the start of this month the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 have been in place. These set out your responsibilities (or those of an agent acting on your behalf) to not only ensure that smoke alarms are installed on every floor of your rented property, but also that they are tested and working at the start of every new tenancy. The regulations also state that Carbon Monoxide alarms must be fitted in rooms where there’s a solid fuel appliance – this includes wood burners and open fires.
Whilst on the face of it, these new regulations appear pretty straight forward, we’ve found that there is in fact some lingering confusion. This needs to be eradicated without delay given the importance of these new regulations and the threat of a fine of up to £5,000 for non-compliance.
We’ve found over the last few weeks that confusion remains over exactly who is responsible for adhering to these legislative changes and what the timeframe for being compliant is. It’s perhaps not surprising that the timing issue exists given the laws rather last minute passage through parliament and the hiccups it incurred along the way.
However, in terms of where responsibility lies, if you’re a landlord then you need to ensure that your property is compliant with the new laws. An agent acting on your behalf should be on top of these changes, but with a potentially large portfolio of properties to manage, it’s not inconceivable that they may have fallen behind with new alarm installations. It is, therefore, in your best interests to protect your investment by ensuring yourself that it meets the requirements of the new legislation.
Here at Andrews we contacted all of our landlords via an email campaign to ensure that they were equipped with the full details of the new laws, whilst inviting them to come in their nearest branch to discuss any queries or concerns that may remain.
For any landlord who hasn’t personally acted to ensure compliance since the start of October, or who is unsure if their managing agent has met the new requirements, then we’d urge you not to delay in addressing this issue. Whilst the alarms will need to be checked at the outset of each new tenancy, there is no excuse for delaying if you have a long-term tenant in situ and the threat of a £5,000 should provide you with the necessary urgency to act now!
The new legislation currently makes no inclusion for checks on electrical items but our recommendation would be to nonetheless include yearly checks on these so that you can reassure your tenants of your commitment to their safety, whilst safeguarding the value of your property.
If you’re still confused by the new legislation, or any other aspect of being a landlord, then pop in to your local Andrews’ branch or give us a call.