smoke alarmNew laws for landlords come into force on 1st October which will ensure that smoke alarms are fitted on every level of rented properties they own.

This law also extends to fitting carbon monoxide alarms in properties which burn solid fuels.

Landlords must check that the alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy, with landlords potentially facing penalties of up to £5,000, if they do not comply.

Previously, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would have been responsible for keeping tenants safe but the onus is now on the landlords, not the fire service, as new regulations make it compulsory for landlords to fit the recommended alarms in rental homes.

Throughout the summer months, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has been promoting this forthcoming law with its “Don’t Gamble with Your Tenants’ Lives” campaign.

Also, a series of seminars were held across Hastings, Eastbourne and Hove to update landlords on this forthcoming change, aimed at saving dozens of lives a year, and to ensure that they were fully aware of their new responsibilities.

Click on the following links to hear both Steve Wright, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and Julie Wilkins, Wealden District Council, talking about the importance of the new laws and seminars.

Community Safety Manager for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Steve Wright, said:Steve Wright

“We are urging landlords to install smoke alarms (one per floor) in each of their properties to ensure the safety of their tenants.

“East Sussex Fire and Rescue is keen to support landlords with the changes and to achieve this we have held a series of seminars to provide landlords with advice on the changes to the law and fire safety advice.

“We also had a quantity of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, which were handed to those landlords with the most vulnerable tenants, to ensure their safety.

"While deaths and injuries from fires have reduced considerably in recent years, the majority of victims continue to be those who are most vulnerable, often living in private rented accommodation.

"While overall smoke alarm ownership in the country stands at around 90%, those living in private rented homes are far less likely to have a working smoke alarm.

"Statistically, people are four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no working smoke alarm and over the next ten years it is estimated that the new laws will result in 231 fewer deaths and 5,860 injuries.

“We are keen to make sure that all Landlords understand the importance and the legal implications of the proposed changes."

Wealden District Council’s Property Services Manager, Julie Wilkins, supported and spoke at the Eastbourne seminar. Councillor Graham Wells, Cabinet member for Housing at Wealden District Council, said:

“It is important that every private landlord in Wealden is fully aware of the impact of the new legislation and makes all the necessary changes to comply with the law.

“Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are vital to saving lives.”

Further information can be found here and here to assist landlords in safeguarding their tenants from potential dangers in the home. This not only protects their tenants from injury but also their property from any potential damage.