Letting agents warn about new safety regulations for rented property

Smoke alarm

Smoke alarm - Credit: Getty Images/Comstock Images

Letting agents are warning landlords that they will soon have to deal with the threat posed to their tenants by carbon monoxide poisoning or face a financial penalty.

Measures announced by the Government in March are expected to come into effect from October 1 and will require rented homes to be fitted with at least one carbon monoxide alarm.

Landlords will need to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any part of a property that is deemed to carry a high risk - such as rooms in which a gas or solid fuel appliance is present - or be liable to a civil penalty of up to £5,000.

Statistics show approximately 40 deaths and 670 serious injuries are caused by carbon monoxide poisoning each year.

Carole Charge, technical and compliance director for Leaders in St Albans said: “The overriding responsibility of a landlord has always been to provide a safe environment for their tenant, and the new measures will help to ensure this remains the case. I would advise all landlords to have carbon monoxide and smoke alarms fitted in advance of the new legislation coming into effect, which is likely to be in October.”

Mrs Charge added: “Carbon monoxide has no taste, smell or colour, so it is easy to understand how so many people are unaware of its presence. Cases of poisoning can be down to poor installation, a lack of maintenance or damage to a gas appliance within a property.

“The good news is that deaths and injuries caused by carbon monoxide can be easily avoided through the use of a functioning detector. The equipment will alert a homeowner as soon as carbon monoxide levels rise above the norm, giving them and their landlord time to act.”

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Landlords will also be required to install smoke alarms on every floor of a tenanted property.

Statistics show a person is four times more likely to die in a fire if there isn’t a smoke alarm that works; each year in the UK 21 people die because the battery in their smoke alarm was flat or missing at the time of the fire; and about half of all fires in the UK are caused by cooking accidents.

Bernadette Oliver, head of Savills Harpenden Lettings, said: “Landlords will be responsible for ensuring a working smoke alarm is fitted on every level of a rental property at the beginning of every new tenancy. After October, and once a tenanted property is fully compliant, the responsibility of regularly checking smoke and CO alarms are in full working order and changing of batteries may lie with the tenant if their tenancy agreement contracts them to.”