After a lengthy consultation at the end of 2021, the UK government have decided to extend the rules on smoke alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) detector regulations within all rented homes in England (whether privately or socially rented). The changes are being implemented in a bid to increase resident safety and streamline the regulations between the rental sectors.

The details are still a little sketchy and (as of 2nd February 2022) no confirmed enforcement date has been announced as yet but, we will keep you updated via our blog when more information is released.  In the meantime, let us share with you the details we do know regarding the regulation extension and how this will affect landlords in the UK.

What is actually changing in regard to the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector regulations?

Currently, the requirements set out in the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 state that landlords are 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 are currently only required to install these if there is a solid fuel burning combustion appliance (such as a coal fire or wood burning stove) installed within a property. In which case, a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted in the room in question.

At the start of a new tenancy, there is currently a requirement for the landlord (or someone acting on their behalf) to ensure that the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms (if any) are in good working order on the first day of the tenancy. However, the responsibility to check they are working correctly throughout the duration of the tenancy lies with the tenant.

What will change when the extension of rules comes into force? 

Once the new extension of rules is officially enforced, both social and private sector (PRS) landlords will be legally required to ensure a carbon monoxide 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 be required to be installed by law.  Gas cooker appliances appear to be excluded from the new regulations.

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 functionality alarm to check it is working correctly during a tenancy will remain the responsibility of the tenant themselves.

There is also concern over whether or not it is practical to expect the landlord/agent to undertake the testing of alarms on the first day of a new tenancy. There is talk that the rules may be amended so that this can take place prior to the commencement of the tenancy, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Click here for more information and for the full scope of the government consultation.

Don’t forget, 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.