Legal Q&A: How will the new carbon monoxide alarm laws affect me?

I own a few buy-to-let flats and have been told new regulations have been put into place for carbon monoxide alarms. Can you explain what I need to do?
Question: I have a couple of buy-to-let flats and have heard that there are new regulations relating to carbon monoxide alarms that will affect me. Can you explain what these are?

Answer: The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force last month. From October 1, the regulations require both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in rented residential accommodation and so apply to flats, houses and premises where all or part comprise a dwelling — including, for example, a flat over a shop. 

As you are a private sector landlord you will have to ensure that a smoke alarm is installed on every floor of your property and there must be a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where a solid fuel heating system, such as a coal fire or wood-burning stove, is installed. Gas is not a solid fuel, so there is no requirement to fit a carbon monoxide alarm near a gas boiler, but it is, of course, best practice and wise to do so. 

These regulations apply not only to tenancies created after October 1 this year, but to premises let under an existing tenancy. Your local authority is responsible for enforcement. Failure to comply with a remedial notice can result in a fine of up to £5,000.

What's your problem?
If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona is a Legal Director in the private wealth group of Foot Anstey LLP in Exeter.
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

Follow us on Twitter @HomesProperty and Facebook