Author : Maryanne Bowring
Smoke is dark, fast, toxic, and hot - and it is the biggest killer in domestic fires. This is the stark warning posted on fire safety product supplier First Alert’s website, highlighting the importance of fitting smoke alarms at home. In the UK there are around 200 deaths a year in house fires and a further 20 from carbon monoxide poisoning. So we were pleased to hear the announcement today from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) confirming that smoke alarms must now be fitted in all rental properties by law.
Following a recent consultation, Housing Minister Eddie Hughes said the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 will be updated to improve fire safety for everyone living in a rented property – and the change applies to social homes as well as private rentals. Landlords and social housing providers will have to fit smoke alarms and must install carbon monoxide alarms in all homes with gas boilers or fires. The changes to the regulations will also mean that:
The cost of the new requirements will, once again, fall to landlords. However, anyone who is tempted to ignore the regulations should note that the majority of the 37,000 house fires each year happen between 10 pm and 6 am when people are asleep. In the 12 months to September 2018, 38% of battery-operated smoke alarms did not sound during a fire – this was because the batteries were flat or the alarm had been disconnected. We all know how annoying it is when alarms go off because someone burnt the toast but having a working smoke alarm means you and your family are four times more likely to survive a house fire.
So take the new regulations on board, fit alarms where they are required and make sure your tenants know that they are a vitally important piece of safety equipment. In a house fire, smoke is lethal. Residents may only have seconds to escape so don’t make the mistake of thinking the new rules don’t apply to you.
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
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