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Agents team up with fire service to launch smoke alarm initiative

A group of estate agents have teamed up with a local fire and rescue service to launch an initiative aimed at making sure that smoke alarms are fitted in rental properties.

Agents in St Albans are working with Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service on a scheme named 'Move Safely', in response to legislation surrounding smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms coming into force in October. 

In two months' time it will be mandatory for new tenancies that a carbon monoxide alarm is fitted in any room in a rental property that contains a 'solid fuel burning combustion appliance' and for smoke alarms to be fitted on every floor of any rented property where a room is used as living accommodation. 

The scheme was launched at St Albans Fire Station earlier this month, with more than ten local estate agencies attending to show their support. 

Letting agents were able to register for free fire safety checks and smoke alarms for properties on their books, and were also provided with fire safety key rings to give to new tenants.

“We’re working with local estate agents because we want to make sure all properties that are rented or sold in the area have working smoke alarms, not just those covered by the new regulations. It’s completely voluntary for estate agents, so it’s good to see so many local agencies interested in working with us,” says Richard Thake, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Hertfordshire County Council.

“We know that there’s an increased fire risk in the first 24 to 48 hours in a new property, while people aren’t as familiar with their surroundings. This campaign will help minimise the risk and ensure homes are protected from day one.”

Rachel Gall, head of letting and property management at Barkers estate agents, adds: “The event has been excellent, and really informative. I can now go back to landlords and tell them about the new legislation – I strongly believe in the scheme, which is why I came today”.

The ‘Move Safely’ scheme will be piloted in the St Albans area, and subject to funding will be extended to surrounding districts in the near future.

Earlier this week, we reported that 71% of landlords have not yet installed a carbon monoxide alarm in their rental property, while 54% are yet to install a fire alarm.

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