April Update

As you are probably aware there are some very important changes coming up for the Lettings industry this year.

The installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in all rental properties, both private and social, is to be made compulsory; this will become law in October 2015

Communities minister Penny Mordaunt announced the move at the Local Government Association annual fire conference, following years of campaigning, led by the Chief Fire Officers Association and supported by the British Property Federation.

The BPF said the crackdown was necessary to force the small number of landlords who did not install alarms in their properties to bring them up to standard. The English Housing Survey estimated in 2013 that 82% of private rented homes had smoke alarms fitted.

The BPF said that making the installation of carbon monoxide and smoke alarms compulsory will provide clarity to landlords.

It recommends that the obligation on landlords and their agents should be to ensure that there are working detectors at the time the tenancy starts. There should be an obligation on tenants, however, to maintain and test the alarms and to report any faults.

As part of our commitment to landlords, tenants and managing agents we already note where the smoke detectors / carbon monoxide alarms and test alarms.

We record where the alarm is situated in the description field i.e: ceiling, plaster finish painted white "smoke detector to kitchen entrance "or "free standing carbon monoxide unit to boiler cupboard "

In the condition field we then state: "Smoke detector / carbon monoxide alarm tested for power only; audible alarm noted / not noted (if not); agent informed "

Where the boiler is situated if there is no visible presence of a carbon monoxide unit we will state in the boiler condition field - " No carbon monoxide unit seen / tested; agent informed "

We also encourage tenants to check the alarms at point of check in and throughout the tenancy; letting the managing agent or landlord know immediately if any of the alarms are faulty or not present. Tenants are also expected to replace batteries once they expire as part of the general upkeep of the property.

For more information: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tenants-safer-under-new-government-measures