Landlords have a lot of legal requirements they need to follow in order to keep their tenants safe at home. From smoke alarms to electrical checks, there are many things that need to be done, and these are usually handled by an estate agent or property management service. For years, carbon monoxide alarms have not been one of these requirements, but a recent Government announcement has changed this.
On 23rd November 2021, the UK Government announced that all private rented homes with fixed appliances must have a carbon monoxide alarm installed. This article looks in detail at these new regulations and what landlords need to do to stay on the right side of the law.
The New Carbon Monoxide Alarm Rules
Earlier this year, the Government conducted a consultation on proposals asking to extend the rules surrounding carbon monoxide alarms. In response to this consultation, they announced new guidelines on 23rd November 2021. This follows parliament approving that both private sector landlords and social sector landlords should be legally required to replace or repair faulty alarms.
As soon as a landlord is made aware of a faulty smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, they must solve the issue promptly. Testing these alarms is still the responsibility of the tenant for the duration of the tenancy agreement.
Private landlords are also now legally obliged to install carbon monoxide alarms in every room which has a fixed combustion appliance, such as a gas boiler. If a new appliance is being installed, then landlords must also install a carbon monoxide alarm at the same time. Fixed combustion appliances include gas boilers and other fittings, but gas cookers are excluded from these new rules.
These changes are being put in place through the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 and the Approved Document J in the Statutory Guidance of Building Regulations. In addition to carbon monoxide alarm requirements, these changes also bring social housing in line with private renting in terms of smoke alarms. All social housing landlords must now provide smoke alarms for all tenants.
Eddie Hughes, the Junior Housing Minister, said, “It is fundamentally right for people to feel safe in their own homes”. Roughly 20 people die each year due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and so many more are killed in house fires. These simple interventions can help to prevent these unnecessary deaths.
What Do These New Rules Mean For Landlords?
As we’ve mentioned, landlords now need to provide carbon monoxide alarms in all homes with a gas appliance, excluding gas cookers. These regulations will be passed through parliament as soon as time allows, and landlords must be given adequate lead-in time to implement these changes. Landlords might decide to install these new alarms before the legislation comes into place so that they are already ahead of the game and not rushing to complete this later down the line.
Whenever a new tenancy starts, landlords will have to test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on the first day of the tenancy.
There are some concerns over the practicalities of these, as estate agents and landlords will need to undertake alarm testing on this first day. Some companies are calling for these rules to be changed to allow testing to occur prior to the tenancy beginning.