How effective are your fire and smoke alarms?
New and stricter legal requirements on the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rented homes are on their way. But before the law changes, landlords have the chance to comment. The government launched a consultation document on Wednesday setting out the new rules. They are mainly aimed at social housing, which trails behind the PRS when it comes to fitting these alarms but, if passed, the new requirements will also apply to the private sector. You can log on to gov.uk to see what is being suggested.
Since 2015 it’s been mandatory for landlords in England to install carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with solid fuel appliances. And they have also been encouraged to fit them where gas appliances are installed too. Now, carbon monoxide alarms will have to be tested to ensure they are working efficiently at the start of each new tenancy. Faulty alarms must be repaired or replaced should they fail while a tenant is in occupation.
During a review of the legislation as it stands now, the government found that around half of smoke alarms fitted in rented homes didn’t go off when a fire broke out and just under a quarter of households thought this was because the fire was too far away from the alarm.
So there is clearly work to be done, particularly at a time when residents are likely to be spending more time at home. In the meantime, if tenants are worried about the provision of fire protection in their rented home or block of flats, they should talk to their landlord direct or to their property manager. We are all too well aware of the dangers of fire and smoke inhalation and this is not an issue that should be left to chance.
Property managers and landlords can comment on the proposals set out in the consultation any time before 11 January here.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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