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Don’t force agents to test alarms on first day of tenancy - call

The government has been urged to backtrack on proposals for letting agents to check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on day one of every tenancy.

Instead, agents and landlords should check before the tenancy begins - but not necessarily on day one.

That’s the view of Propertymark in its response to the official consultation on extending the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations in England, just released to ARLA members.


The consultation ran for eight weeks until January 11 and concerned amendments to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 to require private and social landlords to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where a fixed combustion appliance is used, excluding gas cookers.

Propertymark submitted a written response to the consultation and met with officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to outline concerns from members. 

The organisation’s four major demands of government were:

- Allowing agents to test alarms before the start of a new tenancy would provide some leeway for those landlords that have multiple properties and agents who can be managing multiple check-ins on the same day.

- In relation to appliances and fuel type, it is important that rules are aligned with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 where landlords must arrange an annual gas safety check on every gas appliance and flue by a registered Gas Safe engineer.

- A proper lead-in time is needed for any changes to regulations because greater flexibility on the time frame for implementing legislation ensures that the sector is less likely to fall foul of the regulations as landlords and letting agents will have a realistic period of time to both be informed of regulations and also to ensure they are able to comply.

- The government must not underestimate the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and continued difficulty for the private rented sector to comply with new and existing legislation. This includes tenants who are self-isolating and access to property to carry out checks, maintenance work, or renovation. Collectively, these are adding additional obstacles for compliance.

  • Roger  Mellie

    Let's see if those hacks up at Arbon house can actually influence the government for once.

    Matthew Payne

    Not a chance, can't think of any lettings related legislation introduced in the last few years that was amended after a "consultation", even with some real obvious humdingers in the line up.

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    Surely an alarm is tested at the time of the inventory and schedule of condition dated just prior to a new occupancy? If it is working it wil be noted. If there is no note to this effect then the agent/landlord/inventory clerk is to blame for any defect and should be dealt with accordingly.

    Lazy agents/landlords/inventory clerks should be taken to task as cause for a risk to endanger life in the event of nothing showing on the inventory. After that then surely it is the responsibility of the tenant to make sure it works. After all it will be the tenants life at risk through their own negligence. They will to a man or woman be over the age of consent and should not be mollycoddled.


    Retired agent, you speak commonsense, but when has commonsense been apparent in any government decision?

    As I was reminded today, Intellingence is knowing tomatoes are a fruit... common sense is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad!

    Sián Hemming Metcalfe

    As an inventory provider / owner and trainer for the industry; I can assure you clerks are not 'lazy' and do indeed test the alarms both at inventory, interim and checkout. Whether then the report is read and the issues acted upon are an entirely different matter.

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    Is this even a real issue. Please tell me if I'm missing what this is about. Of all the problems we have with ridiculous tenant legislation they are making a meal of this
    House is vacated Move Out report test the alarms. If working fine, if not change/fix .
    Move In report test the alarms if not working for some reason change there and then takes 10 seconds. Get new tenant to sign on the paperwork inc that they need to test it themselves (Use Fireangel keep a couple in the back of your car.)
    We all know that a gas cert is required before a tenant moves in same goes for smoke alarms. NEXT!!!

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    Jahan. If somebody dies because the smoke alarm wasn't tested by the agent or landlord at the outset and recorded as such you can't put the onus on the tenant to do so as they have no access before they move in and it won't be the first thing on their mind.. It's called being a Professional Agent.

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    I suggest 'Retired Agent' re-read what I have written in my post and comprehend.

    Understand that we check these on the 'Tenant Move Out report' using a software package called Imfuna to alert us if there is a smoke alarm issue. This gives us plenty of time to correct before new tenant moves in. We do the new 'Tenant Move In' report on the day they move in showing that smoke alarms work. FYI It is now illegal to let a property to a tenant without smoke alarms, EICR or a CP12 on the onset. We ask the tenant to test smoke alarms once a month & sign to this & we test when doing six monthly inspections.
    I even ask my electrician to test and sign that alarms are working on the latest EICR that we are rushing around doing.

    You as your name says is a 'Retired Agent' so you are probably unaware of the latest professional software & legislation we have to work with. We've come a long way from two pieces of paper, a set of keys and a receipt for the bond. I suggest you spend some time reacquainting yourself


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