After a lengthy consultation at the end of 2021, followed by a long wait for the new legislation to be passed in government, we are finally able to confirm that yes, landlords are required by law to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms into rented homes in England (whether privately or socially rented) and as of 1 October 2022, landlords must install carbon monoxide alarms into any room with a fixed combustion appliance.
The new rules regarding smoke and carbon dioxide alarms require social landlords to have a smoke alarm on every floor, not just private landlords, as well as a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a fixed combustion appliance (such as a gas boiler or fire). Plus, all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms must be tested on the first day a tenant moves in. Landlords need to ensure they comply with the new requirements otherwise they may face up to a £5,000 fine.
In addition, landlords must also provide a valid Gas Safety Certificate and Energy Performance (EPC) certificate. Without these documents in place, a landlord will be in violation of the law and be unable to serve a Section 21 notice.
Landlords will also be legally obliged to repair or replace smoke and carbon monoxide alarms once they have been informed that they are faulty, although testing the alarm functionality to check it is working correctly during the tenancy will remain the responsibility of the tenant themselves.
The new rules coming into place are being implemented in a bid to increase resident safety and streamline the regulations between the rental sectors. Check out the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022: guidance for landlords and tenants on the gov.uk website for detailed information.
What has changed for landlords? Prior to 1st October 2022, the requirements set out in the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 stated that landlords were required to install at least one smoke alarm on every storey of a rented property on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. With regards to CO alarms, landlords were previously only required to install these if there was a solid fuel burning combustion appliance (such as a coal fire or wood burning stove) installed within a property. In which case, a CO alarm was required in the room in question. At the start of a new tenancy, landlords (or someone acting on their behalf) were required to ensure that the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms (if any) were in good working order on the first day of the tenancy. The responsibility to check they were working correctly throughout the duration for the tenancy lay with the tenant.
As already stated, once the new rules are enforced on 1st October 2022, both social and private sector (PRS) landlords will be legally required to ensure a CO alarm is installed in any room of their homes where there is a fixed combustion appliance (including a gas boiler). Where a new fixed combustion appliance is installed, a CO alarm will need to be installed.
Plus, landlords will be legally obliged to repair or replace smoke and CO alarms once they have been informed that they are faulty. Testing the functionality remains the responsibility of the tenant.
Despite initial concern over whether it is practical to expect the landlord/agent to undertake the testing of alarms on the first day of a new tenancy, this will be the case.
The Maintracts team can provide the professional support that landlords require, drawing on their wide-ranging expertise to help with any issues and enquiries from tenants. We work closely with landlords in our London coverage area, taking the time to fully understand their requirements so that we can provide highly effective maintenance services that keep any disruption to a minimum. If you are a landlord, be sure to check out our landlord services today.
Don’t forget, while there is no legal requirement for private homeowners to have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, we always recommend installing them. Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous to humans and is difficult to detect. Smoke alarms and CO alarms save lives.