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Timetables demanded for smoke alarm and electrical safety changes

Propertymark has responded to two consultations on the proposals to introduce electrical safety standards and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in private rented homes in Northern Ireland calling for clear timescales, guidance and an assessment of the capacity of trades professionals to carry out the work.

The Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 received Royal Assent on 27 April 2022, with plans to introduce the various elements of the Act in two phases. On 1 April 2023, the first phase of the Act came into force. 

Two consultations were launched on draft regulations for Section 8, which establishes mandatory duties for both tenants and landlords within the private rented sector regarding smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms and Section 10, which sets duties for landlords to ensure that all electrical installations are tested by a qualified person at least every five years.


Propertymark has raised the following points to strengthen enactment of the Regulations:

- The Department for Communities must issue a strategy to support local authorities in order to ensure compliance from all landlords and agents regarding the Regulations. An impact assessment is needed on the potential difficulties in securing qualified professionals to inspect the property during the first year that the Regulations are enforced. 

- In cases where agents are managing the property, Propertymark would recommend that agents be responsible for meeting the Regulations with remedial notices provided to agents as well as landlords and tenants. 

- Additional guidance must be provided on exactly where an alarm should be fitted within a required room. 

 - More clarity is needed on any grace period between the enactment of the Regulations and when they will be enforced. 

 - Guidance should be provided to tenants and explicitly include this within the Regulations, not just the accompanying guidance.

The regulations are due to be enacted in 2024.

Commenting, Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, says: “Propertymark has long supported raising standards within the private rented sector and the introduction of mandatory electrical checks and safety alarms in private rented homes throughout Northern Ireland will provide new levels of protection for property agents and their landlords and tenants.

"To ensure the introduction of the regulations work in practice it is essential that the Department for Communities set out a clear roadmap for implementation, ensure guidance on testing alarms and where they should be placed is clear and we have enough tradespeople to carry out the proposed electrical safety checks.

"Propertymark will continue to work with Officials on the details and ensure our member agents understand the changes going forward.”

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    Am I reading this correctly, there was/is no legal requirement to have smoke alarms/heat detectors and EICR checks in place just now in rental properties ?


    This is Northern Ireland, not England.


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