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At last - smoke and carbon monoxide regulations confirmed

Parliament has approved the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 - the regulations which looked in jeopardy after a House of Lords defeat last week.

The vote, late on Tuesday evening, confirms that from October 1 all landlords in England, or agents acting on their behalf, will be required to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords or their agents must also fit carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with a solid fuel appliance, which includes wood burners and open fires.

Those not abiding by the regulations face fines of up to £5,000.

The House of Lords last week rejected the draft legislation at is final stage on the basis that the proposed introduction was less than three weeks away and that the government had not done enough to inform the private rental sector of the changes. The Lords had also complained that the legislation was poorly worded.

Around 445,000 smoke alarms and 40,000 carbon monoxide alarms have now been distributed by the 46 fire and rescue authorities in England in a bid to encourage agents and landlords to meet their safety obligations.

However, even at this late stage the Association of Residential Letting Agents is hoping for an extension on the introduction date for the new regulations.

David Cox, ALRA managing director, says it is concerned that landlords will not have enough time to comply with the requirements, “as it is simply impracticable for letting agents, who may manage a huge amounts of properties, to gain access to the properties and to install these alarms on behalf of their clients in the time frame allotted.”

He has now written to the government urging a delay until January 1.

  • Angela  Cox

    Our electricians are happily telling Landlords that the new regs state the alarms have to be hard wired.....any comments on the type of battery powered ones that we are still allowed to install? I'm getting conflicting information as to whether they have to be sealed units or not.

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    I understood this legislation to be on a new tenancy granted after 1st October, this this now retrospective across all properties?

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    This article seems to suggest Carbon Monoxide alarms are only needed in rooms where there are solid fuel appliances, does this mean Landlords are not required to supply them in rooms where Gas appliances are in use ??

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    Hi Diane, as far as I'm aware the legislation covers all rented properties. The bit regarding new tenancies is to do with the alarms/detectors being checked on the first day of the tenancy - this doesn't need to be done for existing tenancies. It's all very confusing, though, and there seems to be a raft of conflicting information on this unfortunately.

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    How is this going to be enforced ?
    Presumably only after the fact where there has been a serious fire ?
    In my experience very few landlords even have a written Fire plan, something that has been mandatory for a number of year, so I can't see this regulation making any difference.
    Reputable landlords already have these in place, non-reputable ones aren't going to be swayed by some seemingly unenforceable law.

  • Stephanos Constantinou

    Thanks god, finally we got an answer.. i don't really understand why all this confusion.. Last week the House of Lords rejected the draft legislation at is final stage and now few days later the parliament has approved the new legislation..

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    Smoke alarms can be wired or battery and need to checked at the beginning of the tenancy. During the tenancy it is the responsibility of the tenants to make sure they are working.

    Carbon Monoxide alarms are not required if the property is gas or electric heating. Only solid fuel, wood burners & open fires.

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    I absolutely do not understand the thought process behind Carbon Monoxide measures, surely a faulty boiler poses more of a potential threat than a wood burner?

  • Angela  Cox

    Thanks Gordon, and yes Diane I agree with you !! We're installing Carbon Monoxide alarms into all of the properties that don't already have them anyway.

  • Kenny Sahota

    I'm intrigued as to how the authorities will ensure that this is enforced, but a necessary regulation nonetheless. After last weeks discussions it seemed as though it was never going to happen!

  • Felicity Blair

    Surely they are not allowing enough time for this to be implemented. Only having a few weeks to ensure all carbon monoxide alarms are fitted, especially when you look after a whole raft of properties, seems a little rushed.

    john stones

    Although the law commences October 1st if a landlord is found in breach they will have 28 days to put things right.

    Environmental Health seem behind the curve too so I would not expect 1000's of EH offices knocking on doors October 2nd. It has been suggested to the LGA's by government that they finance the extra work through fine revenue so beware, they have to do the work and they have to cover the cost.

    Some LGA's are buying our product Detectagas which sensor inclusively tests CO alarms and proves that they are working i.e. sensing CO. The test button does not fully test the sensor only the battery, buzzer and electronics and the sensor has a limited and indeterminable life. One independent test showed that 16% of CO alarms do not work out of the box.

    The alarms must be seen to be working at the beginning of each tenancy. This applies to Holiday Parks who can experience a change over every week. The law does not apply to residential park homes, nor student halls or properties primarily let to students. Nor doe s it apply to gas only solid fuel. This despite 35% of all deaths recorded by coroners being due to mains gas.

    Interestingly, the largest park operator in the UK with 23,000 caravans considers LPG as a solid fuel fit 2 x CO alarms in each caravan and sensor inclusively test with Detectagas as part of their gas safety policy. They have been ahead of the game by two years.

    Hackney Homes fitted 23,000 Kitemarked CO alarms with a seven year warrantee in their properties but found after two years 26.9% were no longer working. See The Journal of Environmental and Public Health report on CO alarms. The alarm in question was a brand leader.

    It is vital to test CO alarms properly, they will not go off like a smoke alarm when you burn the toast. If your alarms are not WORKING you will be liable.

     
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    What's the shelf life of Detectagas ?

    john stones

    Hi David

    I still have some our first prototypes, they are 19 year old, still have full pressure and will work fine.

    There are 11 test per can and each test costs less than £1.50 at retail price.

     
  • john stones

    Not including gas is ridiculous. 35% of deaths attributed to gas by coroners reports are down to gas. Fitting hard wired CO alarms is fine but the same issues exist regarding sensor life. All CO alarms need to be sensor inclusively tested on installation and at least annually thereafter. That's the law in the USA, they are five years ahead of us on CO matters.

    Latest update; West Sussex Trading Standards have recently tested 10 models of CO alarms bought from high street retailers.80% failed to work to standard when tested at SIRA laboratories At least two of the fails are Kitemarked and one is sold widely in "the sheds". Trading Standards have declined to name the manufacturers even under the FOI Act as they are the subject of criminal investigation. Our Detecta 10 CO alarm is not involved and we are the only manufacturer to reccomend that our alarm is tested with Detectagas on installation and annually thereafter supported by a no quibble replacement service.
    CO and Smoke alarm triplicate test record pads now available ex stock.

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