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Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms - Landlord’s duties extended from 01 October 2022

14th October 2022

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (“the 2022 Regulations”) impose duties on landlords of residential premises in England in respect of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The 2022 Regulations update the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 (“the 2015 Regulations”) to extend the current duties and amend them so that they are not just limited to the private rental sector but include all social landlords too.

The update applies in England with effect from 1 October 2022. Similar requirements will come into force in Wales on 1 December 2022 under the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.

What is required now?

Landlords will be required to ensure that, during any period when the premises are occupied under the tenancy, a smoke alarm is installed on every storey where there is a room used as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance, except for gas cookers. The government defines a room as “living accommodation” if its primary purpose is living, or if it is a room in which a person spends a significant amount of time.

HMOs and properties requiring a selective licence already contain Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations in the licence conditions. These are mandatory conditions incorporating the duties set out in the 2015 Regulations.  The 2022 Regulations will change the mandatory conditions in licences that are granted on or after 1 October 2022.

What do landlords have to do?

The Regulations only oblige landlords to check that alarms are in working order on the first day of a new tenancy. The landlord or agent will need to keep proof of this check. Thereafter they are reliant on the tenant to report any issues. The 2022 Regulations do not state the exact type of alarm that should be installed, or whether it needs to be mains-powered or battery powered but they must comply with British Standards.

Regulation 4 includes a new requirement to ensure that when a tenant (or their nominated representative) reports that an alarm may not be in proper working order, and the alarm is found not to be in working order, the alarm must be repaired or replaced. The 2022 Regulations require that the landlord must carry out the new requirements “as soon as reasonably practicable”.

Tenants will no longer be responsible for arranging repairs or replacements of faulty alarms. However it will be the tenant’s responsibility to inform the landlord of the need to repair or replace a faulty alarm. This report by the tenant, triggers the landlord’s duty to repair or replace the alarm as soon as it is found to be faulty.

What are sanctions for non-compliance?

If landlords do not comply with their obligations in the 2015 Regulations, the local authority can serve a remedial notice on the landlord. If the landlord fails to comply with the notice the local authority can carry out relevant works and impose a financial penalty on the landlord of up to £5,000.

The 2022 Regulations change the process in relation to service of remedial notices and provide a procedure for dealing with written representations by a landlord following the service of such a notice. Where such representations are received, the notice is suspended until those representations have been considered and the local authority inform the landlord of the decision made - whether to confirm or withdraw the remedial notice.

Which tenancies are exempt from the 2022 Regulations?

Selected tenancies are not included in the amended regulations, which include the following:

  • Shared accommodation with a landlord or landlord’s family

  • Long leases

  • Student halls of residence

  • Hotels and refuges

  • Care homes

  • Hospitals and hospices

  • Low cost ownership homes

  • Other accommodation relating to health care provision.

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This legal update is provided free of charge for information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of KDL Law or by KDL Law as a whole.

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