Landlords face £5K fine over smoke alarms

Landlords face £5K fine over smoke alarms

Wakefield Council is clamping down on landlords that do not have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors fitted in the homes that the let out.

New legislation came into force on 1 October 2015 that enables the council to take action against landlords that have not provided the required alarms after parliament approved the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

This now means that all landlords in England are required to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms - such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed. Sanctions for not doing so include up to a £5,000 civil penalty.

Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for economic growth and skills, said: "We want to ensure that all rented properties in the district are safe. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are cheap, easy to install and save lives.

"The council is urging all tenants in rented properties to contact their landlord to make sure the correct equipment is fitted in their home.

"Landlords have a duty to provide them. If your landlord fails to do this, please contact us immediately so that we can take action."

A remedial action notice will be served on the landlord within 21 days if the council is told the requirements have not been met by a landlord.

The notice will require the landlord to comply with the notice within 28 days - or the council will carry out the work and fine them £5,000.

Whilst many landlords are supportive of the aims of the regulations, some are concerned that the government ignored calls from across the private rented sector to reconsider the timeframe for its implementation last year. 

Commenting on the passing of the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 in parliament last September, David Cox, managing director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), said: "Whilst these measures are entirely sensible, ARLA is concerned that landlords will not have enough time to comply with the requirements, as it is simply impracticable for letting agents, who may manage a huge amounts of properties, to gain access to the properties and to install these alarms on behalf of their clients in the time frame allotted."

On behalf of its members, ARLA wrote to the government on this issue to raise its concerns and suggested that all existing tenancies should be given more time to comply. But despite their efforts, the government went ahead and implemented the new requirements as planned.

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