Law change warning for landlords

An expert has issued a warning to landlords ahead of a new obligation to install smoke alarms in properties.

Allan Sumner, head of Commercial Property at Napthens solicitors warns they will be required by law to ensure smoke alarms are installed on each floor of every property from October 2015.

Landlords will also be required to test alarms at the start of a tenancy agreement to make sure they are in proper working order. Any rooms which contain a solid fuel heating system must also have a carbon monoxide alarm installed.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis announced the measures, reporting statistics which reveal in 1988 just 8 per cent of homes had a smoke alarm installed, but now over 90 per cent of homes are equipped.

Allan said: “It’s important to keep up with developments and changes to legislation where landlord obligations are concerned. If you are a private landlord and fail to install the required alarms then you could be landed with a penalty of up to £5,000.

“An announcement is anticipated soon for fire authorities to receive funding, which could mean free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for landlords. “It’s also important for tenants to be aware of what they are entitled to when entering into a tenancy agreement. Tenants should make sure they regularly test alarms throughout their tenancy too, so there are responsibilities for both parties.”