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IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR LANDLORDS AND LETTING AGENTS

The regulations regarding smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm installation have now been passed. These require landlords to ensure the following:-

1. That a working smoke alarm is installed on every storey of your property which is being used for living accommodation;
2. That a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used.

Every landlord will need to ensure that the alarms are installed by 1st October 2015 – this applies to all existing tenancies and new tenancies.

‘Solid fuel’ is coal or wood. It does not include gas or oil heating.

‘Living accommodation’ includes bathrooms and toilets. It is unclear whether it includes storage areas such as basements or lofts however we would advise doing so rather than taking the risk.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the alarms are installed, and it is the tenant’s responsibility to maintain them thereafter.

Penalties and Enforcement

1. The new Section 21 rules state that a landlord may not serve a Section 21 Notice if they are in breach of the tenancy agreement. The new rules do not specifically state that breach of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations will invalidate a Section 21 Notice, however it seems wise to ensure that the regulations are complied with prior to serving a Section 21 Notice. If a Section 21 Notice is not valid it will impede a landlord’s ability to obtain possession of their property.

2. The Local Authority will be enforcing the Regulations. They can serve a remedial notice which a landlord must comply with within 28 days. If a landlord does not install the alarms or take all reasonable steps to do so, then the Local Authority can install the alarms themselves and serve a penalty notice of up to £5,000 on the landlord

Recommendation

Landlords and letting agents should review their portfolio and property arrangements to ensure they are fully compliant by 1st October 2015.

23 September 2015

Alex Cook initially trained as a Barrister (non-practicing) before cross-qualifying as a specialist commercial and property litigation solicitor. Prior to becoming joint owner of Helix Law in 2013, he was Head of Litigation and one of the youngest partners in the region in a large firm based in Eastbourne. Comfortable and experienced litigating against large international City firms, he has successfully resolved complex commercial and property disputes for clients ranging from large international businesses and property investors to individual business people. Alex is an accredited commercial mediator  and he is increasingly asked to advise on contracts, risk, dispute avoidance and exit strategies. He also continues to develop and innovate our products, services and funding arrangements with the aim of making specialist litigation services more transparent and accessible.

This article is written to raise awareness of the issues it discusses and it may not be updated after it is first written, even if the law changes. It is not intended to be legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. Helix Law is not responsible or liable for any action taken or not taken as a result of  this article. If you think the matters set out affect you and you wish to apply them to your particular circumstances then we are happy to give you free initial telephone advice. 

Contact Helix Law on 01273 761 990 or email: [email protected]