NEW laws making it compulsory for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted in all rental properties have been welcomed by two of the leading names in the Leeds residential letting market.
Linley & Simpson, the residential sales and letting agency with ten branches across West and North Yorkshire, and Horsforth-based Ignite Gas Care, said the safety legislation was among the most important the sector had witnessed in recent years.
The crackdown, which comes into force in October, is expected to prevent 36 deaths and 1,375 injuries a year,according to Government.
Linley & Simpson director, Will Linley, said: “This legislation is common sense and supported across the industry. It gives tenants peace of mind and offers clarity to landlords on what is not just a moral responsibility but one which will also be a legal one too.
“At a time when the rental market is increasingly being over-burdened by red tape and legislation driven by bureaucracy, these are practical changes that will usher in a new era of safety. They are a good example of where the Government’s focus should be in terms of introducing meaningful legislation. Both tenants and landlords will benefit.”
He added: “The extra funding that is being promised to Fire and Rescue Services to help private landlords install both types of alarms for free as part of their new responsibilities is also a massive boost.”
It is estimated that one-in-five privately rented properties are not protected by smoke alarms – and many more have failed to install carbon monoxide detectors.
Those landlords who fail to take action face hefty fines running to thousands of pounds.
Jon Oldroyd, managing director of Ignite Gas Care,said: “This is an important and long-awaited step forward in keeping Yorkshire safe. Research shows that tenants are four times more likely to die in a house fire if there is no working smoke alarm.
“Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer as you can’t see it, taste it or smell it. You cannot put a value on the benefit of having alarms installed that can detect it leaking from faulty gas appliances.”
The changes to the law would require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property and test them at the start of every tenancy.
Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.
Those who fail to install alarms would face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.
This would bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have smoke alarms installed.