Renting just got safer in the UK

Published:  16 March, 2015

From October this year landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties.

The new measures were announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis and they are expected to help prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year.

England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected to support private landlords in their own areas to meet their new responsibilities with the provision of free alarms, with grant funding from government.

In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed – now it’s over 90%, said Housing Minister Brandon Lewis.

According to Communities Minister Stephen Williams, people are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm. He added: ‘That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.’

The proposed changes to the law would require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.

This would bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.

New regulations will be laid in Parliament to require landlords to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, and are expected to come into force, subject to Parliamentary approval, on 10 October 2015.

The allocation of funding to fire and rescue authorities to offer free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to local landlords will be announced shortly.

Fire chiefs have welcomed the announcement of the new regulations. London Fire Brigade has been calling for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms  to be mandatory in privately rented homes for number of  years.

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