From 1st October 2015 it is now a legal requirement for residential landlords to install both smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms in rented properties. If you don’t you could face a steep fine of £5000!
As part of a government initiative to help save lives and protect residents, landlords in England are now required to fit a smoke alarm on every floor of a property and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms in every room containing a solid fuel burning appliance. If you currently don’t have smoke alarms and CO detectors fitted in your holiday home, you’re not only compromising your guests safety but also at risk of receiving a hefty fine.
Are holiday home owners classed as Landlords?
At the point you are renting accommodation and someone is paying to stay in your property, by definition you’re a ‘landlord’, so yes. The new law applies to landlords in England.
What are the requirements of the new regulations?
- One smoke alarm (at the very least) is to be fitted on every floor of a rented property where there is a room used for ‘living’ including kitchens and bathrooms (for example a middle landing with only a cloakroom located on it requires an alarm).
- Alarms must be checked to ensure they are working at the beginning of each new tenancy (i.e. you or your housekeeper should check all alarms on the day guests arrive – we would also recommend keeping a signed log of this). It then becomes the ‘tenants’ responsibility to regularly check alarms (i.e. your guests so you may want to bring this to their attention and request they check alarms regularly during their stay).
- A Carbon Monoxide alarm also now needs to be installed in each living room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (solid fuel includes substances such as logs and coal). CO is known as the ‘silent killer’ and is impossible to detect as it cannot be seen, smelt or tasted and is even more dangerous for children whose small bodies are quickly overcome by its effects.
Should the alarms be mains or battery powered?
The law does not stipulate which type of alarm should be used or the location they should be sited (this falls under the remit of the fire safety risk assessment). It is recommended that landlords use the most suitable type of alarm for their property and situation. The London Fire Brigade offer some good tips for choosing and fitting alarms, for example, consider alarms with a long battery life and fit more of them should your property accommodate people with mobility issues (the quicker the alarm is raised, the more time they have to leave the property).
Smoke alarms provide crucial early warning of a fire and save lives. Regardless of the law, make sure your guests are protected and your holiday home is appropriately fitted with smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors.
For more detailed information on these regulations, please refer to the Department of Communities and Local Government guide where you will find lots of useful information.
There are various fire & safety laws that apply to cottage owners (such as regular fire safety assessments, annual gas checks, electrical safety tests etc). It is beyond the scope of this article to cover the many responsibilities of a cottage owner and we strongly urge you to do more research and seek professional guidance where necessary. Please note that the information provided is only our interpretation of the changes to the law.