Agents have raised a specific concern about one aspect of a law change regarding carbon monoxide alarms.
Earlier this week the government announced that carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted in all private rental properties with fixed appliances such as gas boilers or fires - this is an extension of the current law.
The new regulation will also mean that in future carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted when new appliances such as gas boilers or fires are installed in any home.
Agents acting on behalf of landlords are expected to test the alarms on the first day of the tenancy, and thereafter repair or replace smoke and carbon monoxide alarms once they are told they are faulty.
ARLA Propertymark broadly welcomes the new law, stating the initiative is “both welcome and necessary to improve tenant safety” but it has a serious issue with timing.
“The current requirement for alarms to be tested on the first day of a tenancy is impractical for many agents and landlords, and more workable measures are needed. Tenants should feel confident that appropriate fire and gas safety measures are in place, but in order for landlords to be able to make necessary checks they need to be given flexibility and greater clarity” explains Timothy Douglas, policy manager at Propertymark.
Otherwise, the trade body backs the law extension, with Douglas adding: “Private landlords have been required since 2015 to provide working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where applicable in rented property, and the extension of the regulations to encompass gas boilers is a sensible amendment.
“Propertymark has long called for tenants to receive the same level of protection, irrespective of tenure, and these changes go some way to rectifying that.”
The change in carbon monoxide alarm regulations was revealed in an announcement from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities that also stated smoke alarms must be fitted in all social housing - bringing social housing into line with the private rental sector.
The reforms follow a three month consultation and changes will be brought forward through the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 and the statutory guidance (Approved Document J) supporting Part J of the Building Regulations.