The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
These Regulations come into force on 1st October 2015 impose duties on certain landlords of residential premises in respect of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The duties do not apply to a landlord who is a registered provider of social housing. The Regulations require local housing authorities to enforce the requirements.
Duties of relevant landlord in relation to prescribed alarms
A landlord must ensure that during any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 the premises are occupied under a tenancy a smoke alarm is equipped on every storey and a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room which contains a solid fuel-burning combustion appliance. The landlord also has to ensure that any such alarm is in proper working order at the start of a new tenancy. To eliminate any misconceptions a bathroom or lavatory are to be treated as a room used as living accommodation.
Duty of local housing authority to serve a remedial notice
Where a local housing authority has reasonable grounds to believe a landlord is in breach of a duty under the aforementioned regulation, the authority must serve a remedial notice on the landlord. A remedial notice must—
- specify the premises to which the notice relates
- specify the duty or duties that the local housing authority considers the landlord is failing or has failed to comply with
- specify the remedial action the local housing authority considers should be taken
- require the landlord to take that action within 28 days beginning with the day on which the notice is served
- explain the landlord is entitled to make written representations against the notice within 28 days beginning with the day on which the notice is served
- specify the person to whom, and the address (including if appropriate any email address) at which, any representations may be sent
- explain the effect of failing to comply with these regulations; including the maximum penalty charge which a local housing authority may impose
The local housing authority must serve a remedial notice within 21 days beginning with the day on which the authority decides it has reasonable grounds.
The Regulation makes it a duty to comply with a remedial notice. If the landlord fails to do so, the authority must arrange for remedial action to be taken at the premises. A landlord or authorised local housing authority is not to be taken to be in breach of a duty under this regulation where all reasonable steps taken can be shown to comply with the duty, other than legal proceedings.
Penalty for breach of the duty under the regulation
Where a local housing authority is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that a landlord on whom it has served a remedial notice is in breach of the duty, the authority may require the landlord to pay a penalty charge of such amount as the authority may determine. The amount of the penalty charge must not exceed £5,000.
Where a local housing authority decides to impose a penalty charge, the authority must serve notice of that fact on the landlord (“a penalty charge notice”) within six weeks beginning with the day on which the authority is first satisfied there is a breach. A penalty charge notice may specify that if the landlord complies with the requirement or within 14 days beginning with the day on which the penalty charge notice is served, the penalty charge will be reduced by an amount specified in the notice.
The period specified to pay the penalty charge or to give written notice to the local housing authority that the landlord wishes the authority to review the penalty charge notice;must not be less than 28 days beginning with the day on which the penalty charge notice is served.
A landlord who is served with a notice confirming or varying a penalty charge notice may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against the local housing authority’s decision.
The grounds for appeal are that —
Where a landlord appeals to the First-tier Tribunal, the operation of the penalty charge notice is suspended until the appeal is finally determined or withdrawn. The Tribunal may quash, confirm or vary the penalty charge notice, but may not increase the amount of the penalty charge.