The government confirmed in November 2021 that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would become mandatory in social housing following a consultation.
Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes MP has once again written to housing associations and the NHF with an update on new smoke and carbon monoxide alarm requirements (full letter below).
The new regulations have now been laid before parliament and if agreed, will take effect on 1 October 2022. The main effect of the new regulations is to amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations 2015 (2015/1693). This will remove the exemption of social landlords, so that from October housing associations and local authority landlords will be subject to the 2015 regulations.
While housing associations report a 95% rate of compliance already with these regulations (even though they have not previously applied in our sector), we welcome the new regulations because where safety issues are involved we think the legal requirements should apply equally to social housing and the private rented sector.
In cases where repair or replacement of an alarm is necessary, the obligation on landlords is to act ‘as soon as reasonably practical’ after being advised of the problem.
Firstly, I would like to thank those of you who have already taken steps to keep your residents safe by installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their homes.
I wrote to you on 9 March to outline the Government’s proposals to mandate smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in social homes and I promised to write to you again once the regulations had been laid to provide clarity on the proposed date they will come into force.
Today, The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 were laid in draft before Parliament. The House of Commons and the House of Lords will now debate the regulations, and if both Houses approve them, they will come into force on 1 October 2022.
The amendment regulations will mean:
This is a really important step to ensuring better quality, safer homes. I am keen to make sure residents are protected as soon as possible, and I welcome the action that many landlords have already taken to install alarms but strongly recommend that all landlords begin to take immediate action to install alarms. As explained in my previous letter, should the legislation be approved by Parliament, any landlord found to be in breach could be fined up to £5,000. As such, it is vital that your organisation prepares for these changes right away.
A new burdens assessment will be carried out to assess the impact of enforcing these measures on local authorities, and before these regulations come into force, my department will publish guidance to further support you.
If you have any questions, you can contact the team of officials overseeing the review at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I trust this information is helpful and thank you for your engagement on this important matter.
EDDIE HUGHES MP
Download the original letter (PDF).