Gert Corfield

New legislation brought in around smoke and carbon monoxide alarms means that landlords need to be far more vigilant about the properties they let or risk a fine of up to £5,000, Harris Lamb’s property management team has warned.

New regulations were brought in on October 1st which leave landlords of residential properties far more accountable when it comes to smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, and Gert Corfield of Harris Lamb’s property management department said the team was working with clients to ensure full compliance.

 “The new regulations govern residential accommodation let under a tenancy or licence, and will affect property owners with residential portfolios or with flats over commercial property,” he explained.

“Essentially, landlords renting residential properties must ensure that smoke alarms are installed and working on each floor where rooms are used as living accommodation, install a carbon monoxide alarm where there is a solid fuel-burning appliance and check these are in proper working order when a tenancy begins.

“Crucially, this doesn’t just apply to new tenancies, but to those where the tenant is already living at the property – to that end, they have a responsibility to check the devices are working every month while the landlord should carry out periodic checks to guarantee continued compliance,” he added.

Gert said that property owners with residential portfolios let to tenants would need to review their management procedures to ensure they were compliant with the legislation.

“When a new letting is agreed, all smoke alarms should be tested and brought to working condition before occupation, regardless of when alarms were fitted, and the tenant should be given a copy of the test certificate.

“Again, the tenant will have some responsibility – and Landlords should ensure that provisions are written  into new tenancy agreements requiring the tenant to test the alarms regularly, while the landlord should also test alarms periodically,” he advised.

The change in legislation is just part of a number of new regulations applying to residential tenancies including the information that must be given to tenants on a new tenancy, particularly the serving of the new Government document How to rent: the checklist for renting in England.