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Incoming Smoke Alarm Legislation - Fingers Crossed for Good Law!

Pleased to hear Penny Mordaunt MP, Fire Minister, yesterday announced that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors will be mandatory in rental property which I personally welcome. I won't let a property without a working smoke alarm and carbon

Pleased to hear Penny Mordaunt MP, Fire Minister, yesterday announced that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors will be mandatory in rental property which I personally welcome.  I won't let a property without a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors are recommended by Gas Safe engineers we fit them.  

However one worry for me is the type of alarm required.  Will the government insist on mains wired smoke alarms which will add significantly to costs.  My last quote was around £70 per alarm to be fitted, but costs could be higher where less alarms are fitted.  We wait and see. 

There is also going to need to be a burden of proof on the landlord that the smoke alarms are installed and working at the start of the tenancy.  We write in the inventory what the status of them is when we compile these and comment as to whether they are working or not.  Fundamentally they MUST work at the start of the tenancy.

We also check them on inspection and advise tenants where they are not working.  But it is a tenants responsibility to maintain them (where not mains wired) and keep the batteries working.  

Lord Denning had this to say on minor jobs...

"What does 'to use the premises in a tenant-like manner' mean?  The tenant must take proper care of the place.  He must, if he is going away for the winter, turn off the water and empty the boiler. He must clean the chimneys, when necessary and also the windows.  He must mend the electric light when it fuses.  He must unstop the sink when it is blocked by his waste.  In short, he must do those little jobs about the place, which a reasonable tenant would do..."

But this is common law rather than statute (Warren vs Keen 1953.) so we will see what the government comes up with. 

In the dying days of parliament often legislation expires or is traded off so we wait to see whether a life saving measure ends up consigned to the annals of history.  However, I think this one will only be a matter of time for the next suitable white paper opportunity, whatever the flavour of our next government.  So if you are having work done, consider being on notice on this issue.  I would recommend fitting the right type of mains wired alarms to the correct locations if you are having work done.  At the least install smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors going forward.

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