Preparing for New Carbon Monoxide Legislation: Is Your Property Ready?

Sunday, July 24th, 2022

Here’s a quick heads up for all landlords on new legislation impacting carbon monoxide alarms in rental properties.

Since 2015 in England, landlords have been legally required to install carbon monoxide alarms in any rooms containing solid fuel burning appliances, such as wood burning stoves or open fireplaces.

In May 2022, amendments to the existing law were passed. These additions to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations expand the scope of the legislation to include fixed combustion appliances. So, from 1 October 2022, you must have a working carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a gas heater, fire or gas boiler.

Here’s what the new legislation states:

From the coming into force of these Regulations, relevant landlords of a specified tenancy are required to ensure that, during any period when the premises are occupied under the tenancy, a smoke alarm is equipped on every storey where there is a room used as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (which is a wider duty to the previous requirement for a carbon monoxide alarm to be equipped in any room which contains a solid fuel-burning combustion appliance) except for gas cookers.”

Another key change reinforces the responsibility landlords hold in terms of responding swiftly to tenant reports linked to smoke or carbon monoxide alarms:

The amended regulation 4 includes a new requirement to ensure that when a tenant (or a tenant’s nominated representative) reports that an alarm may not be in proper working order is made, and the alarm is found not to be in proper working order, the alarm must be repaired or replaced. New paragraph (3A) provides that the landlord must carry out the new requirements as soon as reasonably practicable.”

This will apply to all landlords, across houses, flats and multiple occupancy properties. And, for those who fail to comply, fines of up to £5,000 will apply.

Why this matters…

This change does matter, in terms of protecting tenant safety. Carbon monoxide gas is produced by the incomplete burning of carbon fuels (coal, coke, wood, gas, liquefied petroleum gas). Common causes include incorrectly installed appliances, and blocked air vents and chimney flues.

Carbon monoxide is odourless, tasteless, and invisible, making it a silent killer. Tenants can be completely unaware of a problem, until it’s too late. Symptoms of poisoning include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness

Severe poisoning can cause collapse, loss of consciousness, and sadly in some cases, even death. It’s a risk we take extremely seriously at M A S O N S.

What you need to do

To comply with the new requirements by 1 October, we recommend you:

  • Use qualified people to install and service appliances, air vents, flues, and other risk elements
  • Ensure every room has a carbon monoxide alarm (where relevant)
  • Check your alarms are Kite marked and BS EN 50291 compliant
  • Test that alarms are in full working order at the outset of a tenancy
  • Advise tenants (in the tenancy agreement) to regularly test alarms
  • Advise tenants (in the tenancy agreement) to regularly clean alarms by vacuuming with a soft brush to remove dust
  • Check alarms are working as part of regular property inspections
  • Include alarm testing by a Gas Safe engineer, as part of an annual gas safety check
  • Schedule regular monitoring of any appliances or fixtures
  • Respond rapidly to tenant reports of alarm faults/issues
  • Document all of the above

If you need to add new alarms before October, we recommend using a qualified Part P and Gas Safe Engineer. For mains-powered models this is a necessity, but even for simpler battery-powered models, it’s worth considering.

How can we help?

For landlords using the M A S O N S managed service these new requirements will be part and parcel of our ongoing service. We take care of all regular inspections, any required action, and the related paperwork – giving complete peace of mind. We’re also here to ensure any safety concerns can be easily raised by tenants and rapidly resolved.

If you use our tenant finding service, we’ll ensure the correct number of alarms are in place at the outset of the tenancy. Then it’s over to you to ensure ongoing compliance, but of course, we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

M A S O N S is one of Hertfordshire’s leading lettings agencies. We offer an award-winning letting experience for landlords through highly flexible and quality property management services covering Hitchin, Letchworth, Fairfield Park, Stotfold, Biggleswade, Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield.

Contact M A S O N S today. Call 01462 557 477, or email [email protected]