Tenancy Agents Central Housing Group

Don’t Force Tenancy Agents To Test Alarms

The government has been urged to backtrack on proposals for letting agents to check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on day one of every tenancy.

Instead, agents and landlords should check before the tenancy begins – but not necessarily on day one.

That’s the view of Propertymark in its response to the official consultation on extending the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations in England, just released to ARLA members.
The consultation ran for eight weeks until January 11 and concerned amendments to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 to require private and social landlords to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where a fixed combustion appliance is used, excluding gas cookers.

Propertymark submitted a written response to the consultation and met with officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to outline concerns from members.

The organisation’s four major demands of government were:

– Allowing agents to test alarms before the start of a new tenancy would provide some leeway for those landlords that have multiple properties and agents who can be managing multiple check-ins on the same day.

– In relation to appliances and fuel type, it is important that rules are aligned with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 where landlords must arrange an annual gas safety check on every gas appliance and flue by a registered Gas Safe engineer.

– A proper lead-in time is needed for any changes to regulations because greater flexibility on the time frame for implementing legislation ensures that the sector is less likely to fall foul of the regulations as landlords and letting agents will have a realistic period of time to both be informed of regulations and also to ensure they are able to comply.

– The government must not underestimate the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and continued difficulty for the private rented sector to comply with new and existing legislation. This includes tenants who are self-isolating and access to property to carry out checks, maintenance work, or renovation. Collectively, these are adding additional obstacles for compliance.

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