Make Sure You Are Legal – The New Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Laws from 1st October 2015

Does your buy to let property have suitably fitted smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that meet the new law set out by The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 that came in to force on the 1st October 2015?

The amended regulations basically state that all private residential buy to let property, (excluding HMO’s which abide by a separate set of regulations), MUST have a minimum of at least 1 smoke detector per storey that is situated in as central an area as possible and a minimum of 1 carbon monoxide detector in any room where there is a solid fuel burning appliance. A solid fuel burning appliance is “any appliance that you light a solid material in” such as an open wood/coal/peat fire or a log burning stove. Strangely, the new act does not state that carbon monoxide detectors are mandatory by gas appliances or boilers however it is strongly recommended that any conscientious landlord would ensure that these are in place also, and we are finding that it is becoming more and more common for Gas Safe engineers to refuse to pass a Landlords Gas Safety check without a carbon monoxide detector in place!

The amendments do not stop there however, for your property to be compliant with these regulations you, or your agent, also must check that all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the property are working at the start of any new tenancy and preferably record that this has occurred on the tenancy agreement before the tenants sign it. After this point, the tenants are responsible for ensuring that the detectors in the property are in good working order however it would be best practise to check them yourself again during every periodic inspection because should the detectors become faulty it is the landlords responsibility to replace them, not the tenants!

So, are you compliant with these amendments to the law? If not it is advisable to ensure that you are because the council can enforce fines of up to £5,000 for any landlord who is found to be non-compliant!!

Until next time

Mark Bareford

(Director at Marlou Property)