Carbon Monoxide Requirements | Legislation Advice For Landlords

Requirement for Smoke alarms

During any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 while the premises are occupied under a tenancy (or licence) the landlord must ensure that a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. A living room will include a lounge dining room and kitchen as well as a bathroom or toilet. It also includes a hall or landing. This means that a smoke alarm must be provided in working order on each storey. Since the regulation relates to each storey in the premises this suggests that a separate alarm is not needed on a half landing as these would not be regarded as individually being a storey. As regards individual flats located on one floor then there will have to be at least one alarm within the flat itself or alternatively are provided outside the flat on the same floor of the building, i.e. a communal alarm.

Likewise, for flats comprising more than one storey there will need to be a smoke alarm on each floor.

It is the location of an alarm which sounds which is crucial; not the positioning of detectors.

The Regulations do not stipulate what kind of alarm is required. Ideally it should be a hard wired alarm system. It can, however, be a single standalone alarm. Landlords are recommended by the RLA to fit ten year long life tamper proof alarms, otherwise there is a problem of batteries being taken out and not being replaced.

Carbon monoxide alarms

Likewise, during any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 when the premises are occupied under a tenancy or a licence a carbon monoxide alarm must be provided by the landlord in any room in premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. This applies to any kind of wood burning stove or an open coal fire. It will also extend to equipment such as a solid fuel Aga in the kitchen. This is already a requirement with new installations of solid fuel burning combustion appliances as under Building Regulations there is a requirement to install a carbon monoxide alarm. This is now extended to any existing appliances already in place before Building Regulations imposed this requirement or where building regulations are not observed.


The landlord is specifically required to carry out a check to ensure that smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms installed to comply with the Regulations are in proper working order on the day a tenancy begins where it is a new tenancy. A new tenancy is a tenancy granted on or after 1st October 2015.

For these purposes a new tenancy does not include a tenancy which was granted where the original agreement was entered into before 1st October 2015; nor does it include a periodic statutory tenancy which arises when a fixed term shorthold tenancy ends. It does not apply to a tenancy which starts at the end of an earlier tenancy where the landlord and tenant are the same as under the earlier tenancy and the premises are the same (or substantially the same) as those under the earlier tenancy. Therefore this express requirement to check does not apply to the renewal of a tenancy for the same premises by the same landlord to the same tenant. This should not be confused with the requirement to install detectors and alarms which applies to tenancies in existence before October 1st 2015.

In our view, landlords should not be under a false sense of security because of this provision. Our reading of the regulation is that there is an ongoing obligation to ensure that any smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm installed to meet these requirements is in working order. Alarms should therefore be checked periodically to see that they are working properly. There is no reason why this responsibility should not be placed on the tenant and the government guidance does suggest the tenant check monthly. However, the landlord will then have to make sure that the tenant does actually carry out the checks. If challenged, a landlord could have to show that a proper system has been put in place to check alarms regularly.
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Beware new rules for ending a tenancy

As if getting rid of tenants who are reluctant to leave wasn’t already hard enough, the Government has just made it even harder for landlords to bring tenancies to an end.

It has recently announced changes to Section 21 notices (S21s), which means that a landlord who wants to get their property back will have to follow some new rules, otherwise their tenant will be allowed to legally remain in their property, even after the lease has expired.

If you’re not familiar with Section 21s, they’re the official forms used by landlords to give the tenant two months’ notice to leave. They’re often referred to as “no fault notices” or “notice to quit” as the tenant doesn’t have to have done anything wrong, it’s usually just that the landlord wants the property back, often to sell it or to move back in themselves.

Landlords don’t have to give a reason for serving notice on their tenant, as long as the fixed period of the tenancy has ended, so some landlords use S21s as an easier way to get rid of problem tenants than evicting them via the courts.

However, for all new tenancies starting from October 1, landlords need to be aware of the following changes.

First of all, you can no longer just write tenants a letter telling them you want your property back. You’ve got to issue the S21 notice on a new form, known as Form 6A Notice Seeking Possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

You won’t be allowed to evict a tenant by issuing a Section 21 notice if the tenant has already made a written complaint about the property, if the tenant has reported an issue that hasn’t had an adequate response prior to being served with the S21. This is to prevent so-called “revenge evictions”, where the landlord decides that rather than sorting out a problem they’ll just get rid of the tenant instead.

Also, from next week, landlords will have to provide new tenants with a Government-issued How to Rent guide, which sets out all the tenant’s and landlord’s rights and obligations. And with all these changes, landlords will need to be able to prove, should it go to a dispute that these have been provided – so getting confirmation from your tenant has received them is also important.

Landlords won’t be able to issue tenants with a S21 unless they’ve provided tenants with the latest version of this guide, either by email or as a hard copy, along with valid Gas Safety Records and Energy Performance Certificates, both of which were previously required.

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Landlords get ready for worst winter for 65 years

Landlords get ready for worst winter for 65 years

With newspaper headlines screaming that we’re heading for the worst winter since 1950 – it’s all to do with El Nino, apparently – now is a really good time to make sure our properties are weather-tight.

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Tenant disappears owing rent

Tenant disappears owing rent:-
Momodou Mbenga formerly of Potters Hollow, Bulwell, Nottingham. Initially a good tenant, paid rent on time and looked after the flat. Then 5 months into a new 12 month contract he gave notice that he was leaving. I explained that we would release him from the contract if he paid me the costs to find a new tenant which was £60 to re-advertise and £125 to cover viewings costs, credit checks, references and a new contract for a replacement tenant – to which he agreed and to pay rent up to the point we find a new tenant. A fair arrangement considering he still had a commitment to pay another 7 months rent at £475/month.

I found and moved in a new tenant after about 6 weeks by which time Momodou had disappeared!
During which time he failed to pay any more rent as we had agreed even though he was still living in it for most that period. I sent several emails to him which included a statement of costs and after a while he responded saying he would pay the remaining £155 the following week (the remaining debt that his deposit did not cover). This never happened and I got no response from any further emails.

All I would say to any other prospective landlords is to be wary of this person – he seems very genuine but Momodou Mbenga will renege on his promises.

Fortunately I was able to ensure the landlord did not lose out on rent as it was me that persuaded the landlord to come to a fair deal with the tenant – it was my fees and advertising costs that I lost that he owes me.

Now starts the process of claiming the money through the courts – which will nearly double if not treble the debt Momodou Mbenga will have to pay. I think he thinks it a trivial sum of money that a landlord would not bother going to the trouble of claiming!


Residential Landlords Association Will the Chancellor’s tax plans double your tax rate in 2020?

The Chancellor announced in the 2015 Summer Budget that from 2020 Mortgage Interest Relief for residential landlords would be restricted to the basic rate of income tax (20%). This will be phased in from 2017. You can read more about these changes on our RLA taxation campaign page here

Basic rate taxpayers believe they will be unaffected by the changes, but because tax will now effectively be applied to turnover, not profit, many will find themselves paying 40% tax in 2020.

As part of our ongoing campaigning on this issue we are trying to demonstrate to Government that they have very much underestimated the number of Landlords that will be affected by these changes. The Government have said the changes will only affect one in five landlords. However, we believe the number of Landlords affected will be much higher.