Simplifying the Complexity of Landlord Legislations and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Landlord regulations in the UK can be extremely complicated. You may remember an article we published detailing the 178 reasons the law causes buy-to-let landlords such stress. Landlord laws can be overwhelming, as you struggle to stay up to date with the constant stream of changes.

Here is our guide to help you navigate through the legislation that covers your landlord responsibilities to install and check carbon monoxide alarms.

Fire Hazards Coming with the Winter Weather

As temperatures begin to fall in the UK, heating appliances get switched on. Appliances such as boilers and wood burners can cause a serious danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if poorly fitted or maintained. Your buy-to-let property will have some form of a heating appliance, and to keep your tenants safe you must have carbon monoxide alarms installed in your property. But is it your responsibility to check them?

What Are Your Legal Responsibilities Regarding Carbon Monoxide Alarms as a Landlord?

From 1st October 2015, private sector landlords have been legally required to have a minimum of one smoke alarm on every storey of their buy-to-let property. A carbon monoxide alarm is also required in any room of the property that contains a solid fuel-burning appliance, such as a coal fire or wood-burning stove. It is also your responsibility as a landlord to test that all alarms are working at the beginning of each new tenancy. If you do not fulfil your obligations, local authorities can fine you up to £5,000.

If you have long-term tenants, you may not have tested your alarms since they moved in, – is it your responsibility to maintain the alarms throughout their tenancy? The answer is no. From the first day of the tenancy, it becomes your tenant’s responsibility to regularly test the alarms in their home.

When writing your tenancy agreement for new tenants, it is good practice to create an inventory that includes a record of your carbon monoxide alarms for tenants to sign and date. You can also keep a record of installed alarms and when checks were made to protect yourself against any claims from tenants.

As a landlord, you want to keep your property in the best condition possible and keep your tenants safe. Your tenants may not be aware that it is their responsibility to test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Therefore, it is beneficial to talk to your tenants and advise them of this responsibility. Let them know that monthly checks are considered appropriate for such alarms.

When speaking to your tenants you can stress that testing alarms is for their safety, and should be taken seriously. They should also notify you immediately if the carbon monoxide alarms are no longer working.

Key Takeaways

In summary, a landlord’s responsibilities regarding carbon monoxide alarms are to:

  • Ensure there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that has a solid fuel-burning appliance
  • Have alarms tested at the beginning of a new tenancy
  • Ensure that the tenant understands it is their responsibility to regularly test that their carbon monoxide alarms are in working order and to report to the landlord if they are not

To protect yourself against any unfounded claims, ensure you comply with the landlord legislation. Also, keep thorough records of your carbon monoxide alarm checks and an inventory of all alarms to be signed by tenants at the beginning of their tenancy. You can find out more about this critical landlord law by reading the UK’s Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

Our landlord clients can rely on us to explain all the essentials to new tenants and ensure that tenants are aware of their obligations. It’s part of our delivery of effortless property management services. For more information, contact Ezytrac today at +44 0 1522 503 717.

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Yours in Effortless Property Management,

Michael Hollamby