There is no smoke without fire

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 will be coming into force on 1 October 2015 (“the Regulations”). The Regulations follow a consultation by the Government about the conditions of property in the private rented sector.

Who do the Regulations apply to?

Importantly the Regulations are only applicable to England and do not affect any homes which are occupied under a Written Statement in accordance with the Mobile Homes Act 1983.

However for those site owners who do lease mobile homes and/or other properties on their site for residential occupation under different tenancy agreements (i.e. on short term lets), it is vital that steps are taken now to comply with the Regulations as once in force no ‘grace period’ for compliance will be afforded.

How do I comply with the Regulations?

The Regulations require private sector landlords to install by no later than 1 October 2015:

  1. At least one smoke alarm on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation (this includes a bathroom or a toilet room); and
  2. A carbon monoxide alarm in any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation which contains a solid fuel burning appliance (i.e. rooms containing an open fire or log burning stove).

The Landlord must thereafter ensure all alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy (i.e. on the first day of each new tenancy agreement irrespective of whether or not the tenant moves in at a later date).

There may be assistance available from the local Fire Station in relation to which alarms to install, how to install them and where to install them in the relevant premises. It may therefore be sensible to contact them to discuss your needs and to ensure compliance with the Regulations.

In order to keep a record of compliance with the Regulations it would also be advisable to make a note of the date and time on which the relevant alarms were installed and to take a photograph of the same. In relation to future checks at the start of new tenancies it would be best to conduct the same in front of the new tenant and ask them to sign a declaration to confirm that the test took place. This could be conducted at the same time as the inventory check.

What happens in the event of non compliance?

If the Regulations are not complied with the local authority can take enforcement action by serving a Remedial Notice requiring a Landlord to fit and/or test an alarm within 28 days. If the Remedial Notice is not complied with the local authority can impose a penalty charge of up to £5,000.

If you rent out property on your park for residential occupation, under arrangements other than a Written Statement, it is essential for you take steps as soon as possible to ensure compliance with the Regulations. If you have any further queries regarding the Regulations there is Government guidance which can be viewed here.

 

Aimee Hutchinson

Aimee Hutchinson
Solicitor
Holiday and Home Parks Team
0113 227 9203
AHutchinson@LawBlacks.com
@AimeeLawBlacks

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