Regulations making it compulsory for all landlords to fit smoke alarms in rented homes are expected to come into effect from October this year, subject to Parliamentary approval, and Wiltshire Fire And Rescue are urging property owners to be aware of the change.
Under the new laws, smoke alarms must be fitted on every floor of any rented property and carbon monoxide alarms must also be fitted in properties with solid fuel fires or boilers.
Landlords must check the alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy, with potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they don’t comply.
To help landlords gear up for the new regulations,The Government has provided every fire and rescue service with a limited number of free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to give out to landlords.
Neil Chamberlain, from Wiltshire Fire And Rescue Service, said: “We are keen to work with local landlords to improve the safety of tenants across our area, and we want to see compliance with these new regulations as it can only help to save lives.
“Over the coming weeks, we will be distributing the Government-funded smoke alarms on a first come, first served basis. To claim an alarm visit www.wiltsfire.gov.uk/smokealarmsforlandlords."
The Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) has been campaigning for over two years for this new legislation to be introduced, and its officers presented key evidence and research into the Government’s national review of the issue.
Mark Cashin, chairman of CFOA’s Home Safety Committee, said: “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.
“We are delighted that the Government has worked with us to bring in these new laws, which will improve the safety of families and stop dozens of people from losing their lives to fire each year.
“We also welcome their £3 million in funding, which will ensure nearly 500,000 smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will be installed in the coming months.”
The free alarms are available to collect from Swindon, Trowbridge and Salisbury fire stations.
By Paul Jones, Assistant news editor 2 June 2015 www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk