Further to our blog, we were interested to see the letter from the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Eddie Hughes MP, to the National Housing Federation (NHF) and other housing bodies, about the draft Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 which are now before Parliament.
Should the draft regulations be approved as they are, from 1 October 2022 all social housing providers will be required to:
- ensure there is a smoke alarm on every storey of their properties where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation;
- ensure there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room of their properties used wholly or partly as living accommodation where a fixed combustion appliance is present (excluding gas cookers);
- check each alarm is in working order on the first day of any new tenancy starting on or after 1 October 2022.
While there is no obligation on the housing provider to test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms during a tenancy, they must check and where necessary, repair or replace any smoke and carbon monoxide alarm which is reported to be faulty during the tenancy as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Reflecting on the draft regulations and the proposed implementation date, social housing providers must now ensure:
- that there are smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted as appropriate, where premises are occupied under a tenancy;
- they schedule and complete a check on the first day of any new tenancy starting on or after 1 October 2022 to ensure that all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in the premises are in working order (we would also advise landlords to keep records of those checks);
- they have effective ways in which tenants can report faulty alarms to them and systems in place to ensure that any reports made are escalated swiftly to the appropriate repairs/maintenance teams;
- they have the resources necessary to repair or replace any faulty alarms as soon as is reasonably practicable; and
- are familiar and comply with all of the requirements of the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 as updated by the new amendments, which will apply to registered providers of social housing as of 1 October 2022.
Once in force, any landlord who does not comply with the above and breaches the regulations could face a fine of up to £5,000.
This is a really important step to ensuring better quality, safer homes. I am keen to make sure residents are protected as soon as possible, and I welcome the action that many landlords have already taken to install alarms but strongly recommend that all landlords begin to take immediate action to install alarms.