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    24th November 2021

    Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarm Regulations Tighten

    Following a two-month consultation, there will be updates made to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, and the statutory guidance (Approved Document J) supporting Part J of the Building Regulations, to improve the safety of tenants.

    While there have been rules regarding the fitting of alarms and detectors dating back to 2015, new legislation is set to toughen requirements in an effort to save lives.

    Wirral Homes has always recommended that landlords we work with are vigilant with regards the installation and maintenance of carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms; however, the high standards our landlords maintain are set to become the norm for the rest of the private and social rental sectors.

    In a press release from central government, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Eddie Hughes MP said:

    It is fundamentally right for people to feel safe in their own homes – an issue I’ve advocated for many years.

    Around 20 people are killed each year in accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and many more through house fires – but we know that simple interventions can stop these needless deaths.

    I’m proud that the new rules being proposed will ensure even more homes are fitted with life-saving alarms. Whether you own your home, are privately renting or in social housing – everyone deserves to feel safe and this is an incredibly important step in protecting those at risk.

    The legislative changes will involve the following updates to current guidance:

    • Carbon monoxide alarms will need to be fitted in all rented properties with gas boilers or fires
    • Carbon monoxide alarms will need to be fitted when new appliances such as gas boilers or fires are installed
    • Landlords will need to repair or replace smoke and carbon monoxide alarms once they are told they are faulty

    The cost of the new requirements will fall to landlords, with regulators set to be provided with further powers to ensure compliance with changes, and improvements pending to clarify reporting procedures and ease for tenants facing issues.

    Jim Bywater, National Fire Chiefs Council, Domestic Detection Lead, is also quoted in the release, stating:

    NFCC welcomes the changes which we believe will make many more people safer in their homes. We have campaigned for regulations to ensure that regardless of tenure, homes have adequate lifesaving detection.

    The new regulations will contribute to reducing fire and carbon monoxide casualties and fatalities and bring consistency and greater protection to those living in both private and social rented homes.

    The government has promised to update guidance relating to where alarms should be fitted – we’ll ensure we notify our audience as soon as possible.

    What this means for Wirral landlords

    Although this may seem to be just the latest in a long line of recent regulations imposed on landlords, there isn’t a tremendous difference between the present legislation and the currently released updates. The case for referring to these as ‘sensible’ changes is pretty strong – though we’ll need to wait for the full release of information before we can say for sure.

    While some may see placing the financial burden on landlords for replacing alarms and detectors, it also ensures that properties are protected to the best of a landlord’s ability, while also offering legal protection which should not be underestimated as a consolation.

    What this means for Wirral tenants

    For tenants, there are seemingly no down-sides to the changes (as things stand), and it should be pleasing to hear that a right to safety – at least in this respect – is to be enshrined in law. As Eddie Hughes MP stated, the death of tenants from carbon monoxide and fire is needless and often avoidable, making it an overdue change to help keep tenants safe.

    Need help finding a new home, staying up to date with legislative changes, or simply to take some of the pain out of managing a property portfolio? Contact Us to see how our experts can help.

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