East Dulwich

165 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London, SE22 8HX

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5 London Road, Forest Hill, London, SE23 3TW

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Flaxfield House, 91 The Street, Maidstone, Kent,
ME18 5LU

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Please enter your details and parameters of the type of property you are looking for below and one of our dedicated team will be in touch to discuss how we can help you find your dream home.

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May 3, 2017 Landlords

Smoke alarms on every floor are compulsory – since 1st Oct 2015 – and Carbon Monoxide Alarms in certain situations

The following advice is for regular single occupancy (non HMO) properties as a minimum. HMOs are subject to further regulations.

Requirement for Smoke alarms

While your property is rented you must ensure that a smoke alarm is installed on each storey of the property where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. This includes a reception/living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms and toilet or bathroom, it also includes a hall or landing. So you must provide and install a smoke alarm on each floor that is in use.

They must be installed and working before the tenant moves in and tested on the day they take official occupancy (whether they actually move in on that day or not) and recorded as working on the inventory. The inventory company we work with use a special smoke canister to check this, they do not just press the button!

Mezzanine & half landings

A mezzanine is a bit of a grey area, the information provided by the department of communities and local government says  “‘Storey’ is not defined in the regulations. It should be given its ordinary meaning. In the department’s view, for the purpose of these regulations, a mezzanine floor would not be considered a storey.” Also split/half landings with a few stairs are not mentioned. So it appears this is open to interpretation – we think if any level separated by stairs contains a room on that level used as above in part or as a whole – including a toilet – then is comes under the legislation and it is safer to assume this

Flats in larger buildings

If you have a self contained flat all on one level within a building containing lots of flats then you need one smoke alarm within your flat. It could be said if there is an alarm in the communal hallway on the same level then you don’t need to, but best practice should be to have at least one within your flat as if you have a fire door and the flat was unoccupied it would take a while for the other communal alarm to go off otherwise to alert other residents. If your flat has internally more than one floor then you would need to install them on every level – remembering half landings/mezzanine levels can count. It’s best to be belt and braces on this one.

Location of alarms

Where the alarm which sounds is located itself is crucial – not how the detector is positioned, i.e. the rules do not stipulate whether to install on the ceiling or wall or at what height.

Types of detector
Within the regulations it does not state the type of detector you have to install, ideally they should be interlinked and hard wired, but most older properties that have not been redeveloped will not have these and the cost of getting these installed may be prohibitive for you. You can install the cheap battery operated alarms, but tenants can then take out the batteries when they start beeping! We recommend the 10 year unit (FireAngel are popular) with integrated batteries, your tenants cannot then take out the battery if it goes off when they burn the toast and they don’t have to change them either. The whole unit will need to be replaced once it stops working – they start beeping to alert tenants just like the cheaper models.

Heat detectors are not a substitute for smoke alarms.

Your local fire service can provide free advice, and will even come out to give you or your tenants safety advice on the premises – or for more information online see www.gov.uk/firekills

The Regulations apply to flats and houses. A civil penalty for non compliance of a remedial notice in this respect can be imposed by your local authority of up to £5000.

Requirement for Carbon Monoxide Alarms

The regulations state a Carbon Monoxide detector must be present in every room where there is a solid fuel burning appliance (i.e. coal fire or log burning stove) – quite oddly it doesn’t apply to gas appliances such as fires and boilers! We would encourage all landlords to install one near gas appliances regardless, it’s good practice as an undetected carbon monoxide leak can kill.

The government advice online states “a non-functioning purely decorative fireplace would not constitute a solid fuel burning combustion appliance” however I think the non functioning part needs careful thought. Many fireplaces actually have a metal fire basket sitting inside – usually thought of as decoration in a household where they would’t think to actually burn anything – especially in London – and maybe they don’t even know that it is removable at all, but having a fire basket could imply that it is a working fireplace. If a tenant uses that fireplace that you have always thought was purely decorative without checking wth you and it hasn’t been swept, it could potentially cause carbon monoxide to come back into the room. You want to be sure you are on the right side of the law – so please just install a detector in that room as good practice  – or perhaps remove the fire basket!

It’s worth noting that these regulations do not apply to Social Housing landlords!

The Regulations apply to flats and houses. A civil penalty for non compliance of a remedial notice in this respect can be imposed by your local authority of up to £5000.

All the above information is correct at the time of publishing May 2017

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