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Posted on 1/27/2022 1:55:05 PM

By Bay Estate Agents

When the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is implemented by the Welsh Government on 15th July 2022, another important change will be the requirement for wired-in, smoke alarms to be installed on every storey of the rental property.

When the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is implemented by the Welsh Government on 15th July 2022, another important change will be the requirement for wired-in, smoke alarms to be installed on every storey of the rental property.

This comes from the new Fitness of Homes for Human Habitation (FFHH) element of the legislation and requires smoke alarms to be installed on every storey of a dwelling, connected to the electrical supply and inter-linked with all other smoke alarms.

Previous to this, the requirement for smoke alarms had been a mixture of regulation, guidance, British Standards recommendation and duty of care for a landlord. However, the new Act brings the requirement for Smoke Alarms into sharp focus. A surprise for Landlords, especially those of older properties, may be the necessity for smoke alarms to be electrically wired and interlinked.

Location of alarm

Smoke alarms should be positioned where the occupier can hear them when asleep, usually in the hallway or landing. Depending on the size of the property, landlords may consider it appropriate to ensure the presence of more than one smoke alarm on each storey. Landlords may also consider it appropriate to fit an additional heat alarm in the kitchen area.

Ongoing monitoring

To comply with the Act’s requirement to ensure alarms are in good repair and proper working order, a competent professional should be instructed to assess the system and produce a fire detection and alarm system inspection and servicing report. The report will state when the next inspection and service should take place, which will be based upon risk assessment and the type of system installed.

Landlords are advised to note the manufacturer’s recommended lifespan of a fire alarm, which will vary depending on the alarm. One that has passed its expiry date may not be fully operational and incapable of detecting smoke.

The consequences of non-compliance

In addition to the increased risk to the tenant, properties will be deemed unfit for human habitation where smoke alarms are not installed or in poor working order, and rent will not be payable by the tenant for the unfit period.

What is the timescale for Landlords to become compliant?

Where there is already a tenancy in place when the Act is implemented on 15th July 2022, landlords will have a year to comply with the new electrical safety certificate and smoke alarm requirements, giving them until 15th July 2023 to make the necessary arrangements. However, if a new tenancy is created within that year, Landlords will need to comply sooner.

Further reading

Want to know more? Head on over to the Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/wsi/2022/6/made) or Welsh Government’s accompanying guidance (https://gov.wales/fitness-homes-human-habitation-guidance-landlords-html#section-88908).

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