Private Landlords Face Major New Law Change

Private landlords will have to fit working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties following a change in the law due to be introduced in October.

The new regulations will require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property and test them at the start of every tenancy. They will also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in any habitable rooms where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

Landlords who fail to install the alarms could face a penalty of up to £5,000.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, in common with England’s 45 other FRSs, has received government funding to help provide private landlords in the county with free smoke alarms but landlords will have to buy carbon monoxide alarms themselves.

The landlord, managing agent or other representative must also check that alarms work at the start of each tenancy and replace any that do not. Tenants will be responsible for regularly testing their alarms.

Free smoke alarms will be available at each of Shropshire’s 23 fire stations from July 6 for eight weeks on set days and times but landlords will first need to ring Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters in Shrewsbury to request an information pack and complete a questionnaire.

“This is a very important change in the law and it’s vital that private landlords understand exactly what it means to them. The information packs we have put together explain everything clearly and the programme of free smoke alarms is aimed at helping landlords comply with the new law,” said Rabinder Dhami, SFRS’s prevention manager.

The latest figures show that people are at least four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm. A government spokesperson said that the new regulations are expected to prevent up to 36 deaths and1,375 injuries a year.

Although the fire service is leading on the distribution of smoke alarms and providing information about the new regulations, policing and enforcement will be the responsibility of the Shropshire Council and Telford and Wrekin Council.

To find out where and when their nearest alarm collection is landlords should ring SFRS headquarters on 01743 260200.

3rd July, 2015