The Government has launched a consultation on the effectiveness of its Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, which were introduced on 1st October 2015.
Landlords are being urged to respond to the consultation, which closes on 9th January 2018, as the review concerns private rental sector housing. You can see the consultation here.
The Government’s Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations were introduced to protect private tenants from death or injury caused by smoke and carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. The regulations aim to ensure that more homes in the sector have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
During the passage of the regulations through Parliament in 2015, ministers made a commitment to review them in 2017. This consultation invites views and comments to gather evidence on the effectiveness of the regulations to date. It does not indicate any intention to change the regulations. Any legislation brought forward as a result of the consultation would be subject to appropriate assessment and consultation.
Following June’s tragic Grenfell Tower fire, the Government commissioned a Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. This independent review, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, will submit an interim report before the end of 2017 and a final report in spring 2018. Any proposed changes to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations would follow and be subject to the conclusions of the independent review. The findings from this consultation will be used to inform, but not presuppose, the Dame Judith Hackitt review.
Section 150 of the Energy Act 2013 gave the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government the power to create regulations that impose duties on private landlords in England, to ensure that properties are equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
The regulations introduced in October 2015 were aimed at the most at-risk properties; private rental sector homes have fewer alarms installed than other types of housing tenure. At the time the regulations were brought in, data from the English Housing Survey showed that 83% of private tenants had at least one working smoke alarm, compared with 88% of owner-occupiers, 89% of local authority tenants and 92% of housing association tenants.
The regulations require private landlords to install at least one smoke alarm on every storey of their properties on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room wholly or partly used as living accommodation containing a solid fuel burning appliance.
The landlord must make sure that the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. Landlords are not responsible for testing alarms during the course of the tenancy. Guidance recommends that tenants should take responsibility for their own safety, by testing all alarms regularly. Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for smoke alarms.
We have compiled a helpful guide to assist landlords with understanding their responsibilities under the regulations: https://landlordnews.co.uk/guides/a-landlords-guide-to-smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms/