New regulations have been announced that make it compulsory for landlords to fit working alarms for detecting fire and carbon monoxide in their rental properties.
The measures are expected to come into force in October 2015. Landlords who don’t comply could be faced with fines of up to £5,000.
Brandon Lewis, who was Housing Minister under the coalition government, announced the new regulation last month, saying “I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection”.
Landlords will have to install a fire alarm on each floor of their property, and make sure the alarms are working at the start of a new tenancy.
But Lewis emphasised that it will still be the tenants’ responsibility to regularly test the fire alarms.
Carbon monoxide alarms will be mandatory in high risk areas, for example if a gas boiler is located near a bedroom or living room.
There’s been political pressure recently to improve the private rental sector, and the government believes that this latest measure could help to prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year .
The regulation was introduced following a Private Member’s Bill submitted by Torbay MP Adrian Sanders, who was concerned about fire safety following the deaths of two children in Torquay in 2009. The lack of a fire alarm was one of the key factors identified at the inquest.
Stephen Williams, who was Communities Minister when the announcement was made, said that the changes to the law “would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire”.