Tenants Will Be Safer Under New Government Fire Safety Measures

8 June 2015

New Government measures now mean that landlords are legally required to install working carbon monoxide and smoke alarms in their rented properties. These measures were introduced on the 11th March 2015 by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis and are expected to come into force in October later this year. It is hoped that this new law will prevent up to 26 deaths and over 650 injuries every single year.

Strong Support from Fire and Rescue Authorities

This movement is strongly supported by England’s fire and rescue services, following a damning consultation on the condition of properties in the private rented sector. They aim to support private landlords in meeting these additional responsibilities with the provision of free smoke/fire alarms and grant funding from the government.

All of this is part of a wider movement by the government to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to safeguard public protection. At the same time, this movement aims to avoid regulation that would increase rent amounts and restrict the supply of homes to tenants.

Moving Towards a Safer Private Rented Sector

The statistics speak for themselves: you are at least 4 times more likely to die in a house fire if there is no working smoke alarm. This is just one of the many reasons why the government has proposed these new changes, providing a safer living environment for families across the country. Twenty five years ago, less than 10% of homes in England contained a working smoke alarm. Nowadays, this figure has risen to over 90%.

In an ideal world, every single rented property in the country should have a working smoke alarm. So these new measures are extremely welcome and appreciated, especially by our fire and rescue teams. Nevertheless, responsibility also lies with tenants too, as they are urged more profusely to test their alarms on a regular basis.

Additional Measures Introduced

Further measures have also been introduced to support the private rented sector, including a £1billion investment into building new homes exclusively designed for private rent purposes. This is hoped to provide tenants with support against rogue landlords. A new ‘how to rent’ guide has also been released, detailing the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords.

What Will the Proposed Changes Mean?

  • The new changes to law will require landlords to install smoke/fire alarms on every single floor of their properties.
  • They are also required to test them by law at the start of each tenancy.
  • Landlords are also required to fit carbon monoxide alarms in high risk environments; such as rooms that have fuel heating systems in place.

Landlords that fail to comply may face sanctions and could end up with a £5,000 penalty. These regulations bring private rented properties up to date with existing building stipulations for newly-built homes. All of this is of course subject to Parliamentary approval on the 10th October 2015, so watch this space for more information nearer the time.

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