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Landlords left in the wilderness over Parliament’s impending decision.

In October 2015 parliament is due to make decisions that will effect landlords all over the country regarding smoke and carbon monoxide detectors but we still do not know what they will decide and as such landlords find themselves in an uncertain situation with regards to several issues related to ensuring tenants safety:

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Apparently these will be required in “high risk” rooms. What constitutes a “high risk” room seems to be topic of conversation on many landlord forums but the general consensus seems to be that it will be classed as a “high risk” room if it has a solid fuel heating device. If that is the case fine: Comparatively few rented properties will fall into this category but that definition of a “high risk” room has yet to be confirmed and could yet include any room which burns fuel at all so most kitchens and any room containing a boiler. Suddenly almost every landlord without a detector already installed will need one which could result in a mad rush for installations early in October without enough tradesmen to fit or even the available stock to ensure installation.

Smoke Detectors

It seems as if the new legislation will require that landlords must have a smoke detector fitted on each floor of a rented property. This is entirely sensible and something which most landlords will already comply with however what kind of smoke detector will be required doesn’t seem to have been mentioned as yet. Will hard wired smoke detectors be required (as per properties constructed since 1992) or will battery operated alarms be sufficient? Will the legislation only apply to new tenancies or will landlords the country over find that overnight their properties cease to be legally compliant? Will the suggested counter measures of free installation for landlords by the local fire surface be available? If the free fitting service is available what sort of time scale are we working on? Will there be penalties imposed for landlords who do not comply immediately?

The questions go on and on.

It seems sensible that the new measures should initially be rolled out for new tenancies only, and over time, and with plenty of notice, be implemented across the private rented sector. Sensible might not come into it and the government, keen to gain popularity with both the increasing number of tenant voters and pressure groups such as Shelter, may act without considering the real implications of trying to immediately enforce requirements which will obviously take time to put in place. Hopefully common sense will prevail……..fingers crossed anyway.

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