Bishop & Sewell

From 1st October 2015, all private landlords who let residential property in England and Wales will have new rules to comply with. All residential lettings undertaken by the landlord must have installed a smoke alarm on each floor of living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm where there is a solid fuel burning appliance, this is most likely to be where there is a coal or wood burning fire. A failure by a landlord to do so may result in a penalty of up to £5,000.

There is also the requirement on the landlord, managing agent, or other representative, to check that the alarms work at the start of each letting. The ongoing responsibility for checking the alarms are working is with the tenant. The requirement to check the alarms is to ensure that they are in a proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy.

Residential lettings

On the face of it this sounds quite simple, however the test buttons on the alarms only test the battery, the sound and electronics, it does not check the actual gas/smoke sensor. It is relatively easy to check a smoke alarm is working properly; it is more difficult with a carbon monoxide alarm. The easiest way of doing this is likely to be with the use of a Dectectagas kit. A recent report found that 45% of carbon monoxide alarms were no longer sensing gas and a further report found that 16% of new alarms were not working when removed from the box.

If you have a letting agent or managing agent looking after your rental property / residential lettings, then you should ensure that they are fully up to speed with the new rules and regulations and that they will undertake these installations and testing on your behalf.

If you require legal advice or assistance with residential lettings or property matters more widely, then please do not hesitate to contact the Litigation & Dispute Resolution team on 020 7631 4141 or you can email

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