The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) has highlighted its members’ ability to bear some of the burden in relation to the recently-introduced regulations regarding landlord’s fire and smoke alarm obligations.
AIIC inventory clerks can be used by landlords and letting agents to carry out required checks on carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors in rented properties. These became mandatory on the first of October.
The AIIC says that there has been some confusion over who could check the alarms and when this should happen. Some landlords have questioned whether they must carry out the checks themselves or if they could make use of a third party agent. The AIIC has answered this by highlighting the availability of its members to carry out the jobs.
From October the first, English landlords, or their agents, have to have smoke detectors on each floor of a rental property. There must also be carbon monoxide alarms in any room containing an appliance that burns solid fuel, including wood burners and open fires.
Both the carbon monoxide and the smoke alarms must be properly tested at the outset of any tenancy starting from the first of October. Landlords face fines of £5,000 for non-compliance.
Landlords are not currently required to carry out these checks in relation to statutory periodic or renewed tenancies.
After the alarms have been tested by the landlord or their agent on day one at the start of a tenancy, tenants must then take responsibility for testing all of them regularly in case any problems are noticed and that they continue to work properly. Monthly tenant checks are recommended. Tenants should then liaise with landlords if necessary over replacement batteries or new alarms.
The first day testing is required on the date stated on the tenancy agreement and does not have to be the same day that the tenant moves into the property.
AIIC chair Patricia Barber says that an independent inventory clerk from AIIC can carry out the checks on carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors as part of the process of compiling an inventory or carrying out check-in procedures at the start of a tenancy.
Any problems can then be reported back to the landlord, she said, and then letting agents or landlords can carry out regular checks as part of mid-term visits.
The subject of alarms and other new regulations will be covered during two training courses scheduled by AIIC to improve understanding of inventory work. The Guidelines for Inventory Professionals course takes place on the 14th and 15th of November and costs £385.
Local authorities are set to enforce the new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. Landlords may be ordered to put matters right if found to be in contravention of the rules but will face a fine if they do not rectify problems.
Landlords are also being reminded that the new rules do not cover all of the different fire safety requirements that premises could be subject to, such as those contained in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and Part One of the Housing Act 2004.