Private Rented Property - Carbon Monoxide Detectors to become compulsory?
Following a consultation carried out last year, the Government has recently announced that it intends to introduce regulations that will make it compulsory for private rented property to be fitted with carbon monoxide detectors.
This legal development is not, as yet, certain and may fail to appear entirely (particularly in light of the forthcoming general election) but as matters currently stand the new Regulations look set to come into force in October 2015 and it is therefore worthwhile being aware of how they may affect landlords and tenants.
Under current legislation there is generally no obligation on landlords of private rented property to fit their properties with carbon monoxide detectors (the exception being where the property is serviced by a solid fuel boiler). Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) local authorities currently assess properties and, if they deem it necessary, may require improvements to be made. In general however most local authorities take the view that a smoke and heat detector is sufficient, provided that it is both mains and battery powered.
If the new Regulations are passed however this state of affairs looks set to change and carbon monoxide detectors will become compulsory in all private rented property. Precisely how the Regulations will be implemented, and indeed which types of private rented property they will apply to, is not yet known as the Government have not announced how the Regulations will be implemented. It is perhaps likely that the Government will look to make failure to comply with the new Regulations a matter for the criminal courts in an effort to encourage compliance but currently it is not possible to say for certain. It may however be useful to consider this possible development and the potential risk it created ahead of the proposed entry of the Regulations into force in October this year.
Sloan Plumb Wood LLP will follow this developing area of law as more information arises but if you have any questions about any current or proposed regulation of the private rented sector, please contact Peter Corrigan.
 The Review of Property Conditions in the Private Rented Sector