Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt today (19 March 2015) announced a £3 million boost to support the delivery of working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to privately-rented homes across the country.
The funding will provide around 445,000 smoke and 40,000 carbon monoxide alarms which will be free from fire and rescue authorities to private sector landlords whose properties currently do not have alarms.
All 46 fire and rescue authorities in England will receive alarms to distribute according to the number of privately rented properties in their area.
The minister praised the work of the Chief Fire Officers Association in helping bring forward the new rules to require landlords to install smoke alarms in their properties.
Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt said:
Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants – and with people at least four times more likely to die in a fire in a home where there is no working smoke alarm, this is an important measure to ensure this is met.
From October, anyone renting out their home will need to ensure there is a smoke alarm on every floor of the home at the start of a tenancy.
Today’s £3 million boost will ensure England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities can distribute smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to landlords in their communities, making it easier for them to do the right thing and abide by this new rule.
Home Safety Lead at the Chief Fire Officers Association Mark Cashin said:
The announcement of the change in legislation and the funding will greatly help to improve the safety of families and prevent dozens of people from losing their lives to fire each year.
While the cost to landlords is small, it will also go a long way to increasing tenants’ confidence of their landlords and reducing the devastating impact and losses house fires can cause.
A 10-year sealed alarm costing around £15, which is a small price to pay for protection of tenants and property and possessions.
From October 2015, the proposed measures would require landlords to ensure a working smoke alarms is installed on every floor of their property and test them at the start of every tenancy.
Landlords that fail to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will face a civil penalty.
Ensuring tenant safety
The measures are part of wider government steps to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety, while at the same time avoiding excessive regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants.
Under the new measures, landlords will be under a duty to install and initially test alarms, but it remains the tenant’s responsibility to test them regularly.
Figures show people are at least four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no working smoke alarm. The Fire Kills campaign, run jointly by government and the fire and rescue authorities, urges every household to test their smoke alarms when they change their clocks and then at least monthly.
New regulations requiring landlords to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties have been laid in Parliament and are expected to come into force, subject to Parliamentary approval, on 1 October 2015.
England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities will have discretion to determine their own arrangements for the distribution of the alarms to private rented sector landlords in their area between now and October 2015 when the regulations come into force.
The government’s Fire Kills campaign is currently taking place, encouraging people to test their smoke alarms when they change their clocks to British Summer Time. The ‘Tick Tock Test’ campaign will run on radio, online and in the press until 29 March 2015.