Don’t forget the smoke alarm!

Landlords and letting agents are the target of a new smoke alarm awareness campaign launched this week. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is promoting ‘Let it, don’t forget it’ in a new video urging private sector landlords and letting agents to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted in their rented properties. The fire safety video, which you can watch on YouTube here, highlights the changes in the law that were introduced in 2015.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015, oblige landlords to take responsibility for fire safety in their properties. At least one smoke alarm must be installed on every storey and carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted in any room containing a solid fuel burning fire or stove. Either hard wired or battery powered alarms can be installed and your local fire service can offer advice if needed. But the landlord’s obligations don’t end  there. Either they or their letting agent must make sure all alarms are working properly at the start of each new tenancy.

Failure to comply could mean a fine of up to £5000, so we suggest landlords make provision for tenants to sign the inventory when they move in, to record that the required alarms have been tested by the landlord and that they are satisfied they are in working order.

Renters also need to take responsibility for their own fire safety and test the alarms in their home regularly. We recommend doing this monthly. It only takes a few minutes and it could save a life. If an alarm isn’t working inform the landlord straight away.

In July 2018 the letting agent responsible for a property in Huddersfield where two little boys died in a house fire was jailed for 12 months for failing to fit smoke alarms.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the blaze.  Dave Walton, deputy chief fire officer said: “On the third year anniversary of the boys’ loss we want to remind landlords and letting agencies of their responsibilities. Do not take the risk with people’s lives and do not think that a fire ‘will never happen’ – it could… If you are a private sector landlord or letting agent then take your responsibilities seriously and take heed of this warning.”

To read the government regulations on fire safety in rented (but not long leasehold) homes, click here

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