Mandatory smoke alarm.

New law forcing compulsory smoke alarms for landlords blocked on a technicality.

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Draft regulations had been laid earlier in the year to require private sector landlords to install at least one smoke alarm on every storey of their rental property from October 1 this year, and providing local authorities with the power to fine landlords up to £5,000 if they fail to comply.

But this week the House of Lords rejected the new legislation at its final stage on the basis that the proposed introduction is less than three weeks away and that the government has not done enough to inform the private rental sector of the changes. The Lords has also complained that the legislation is poorly worded.

The government will now need to bring the regulations back to a full sitting of the Lords, which is likely to be next week.

It is unclear whether the requirement will still be enforced from 1st October and if so, whether landlords and their agents will be given more than a few days’ notice to comply.

Landlords - and agents who act for them - could see themselves caught out by the fine if they leave it until the last minute to source and fix their alarms. Our advice is start planing now and contact your local Fire & Rescue Service to see if they have any free fire and carbon monoxide alarms for your rental property.

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