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The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

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PART 1Introduction

Citation, commencement and application

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 and come into force on 1st October 2015.

(2) These Regulations apply to England only.

Interpretation

2.—(1) In these Regulations—

“authorised person” means a person authorised in writing by the local housing authority for the purpose of taking remedial action under regulation 7;

“building” includes part of a building;

“penalty charge” means a monetary penalty imposed under regulation 8;

“premises”(1) does not include vehicles or vessels or—

(a)

an HMO (as defined in section 77 of the Housing Act 2004) in respect of which a licence is required under Part 2 of that Act, or

(b)

a house (as defined in section 99 of that Act) in respect of which a licence is required under Part 3 of that Act;

“prescribed alarm” means an alarm which is required to be equipped at residential premises under regulation 4(1)(a);

“remedial action” means action—

(a)

to install a prescribed alarm;

(b)

to repair a prescribed alarm; or

(c)

to check a prescribed alarm is in proper working order;

“remedial notice” means a notice requiring the landlord on whom it is served to take such remedial action as is specified in the notice in accordance with regulation 5(2)(c);

“rent” includes any sum paid in the nature of rent;

“residential premises”(2) means premises (as defined above) all or part of which comprise a dwelling; and

“specified tenancy” means a tenancy(3) of residential premises in England which—

(a)

grants one or more persons the right to occupy all or part of the premises as their only or main residence;

(b)

provides for payment of rent (whether or not a market rent); and

(c)

is not a tenancy of a description specified in the Schedule to these Regulations.

PART 2Prescribed alarms

Meaning of “relevant landlord”

3.—(1) For the purposes of these Regulations, a landlord is a “relevant landlord” if the landlord—

(a)is the immediate landlord in respect of a specified tenancy; and

(b)is not a registered provider of social housing (as to which see section 80(2) of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008(4)).

(2) In paragraph (1) “immediate landlord”—

(a)where the premises are occupied under a specified tenancy which is not a licence means the person for the time being entitled to the reversion expectant on that tenancy; and

(b)where the premises are occupied under a specified tenancy which is a licence means the licensor, except that where the licensor himself or herself occupies the premises under a specified tenancy which is not a licence, it means the person for the time being entitled to the reversion expectant on that tenancy.

Duties of relevant landlord in relation to prescribed alarms

4.—(1) A relevant landlord in respect of a specified tenancy must ensure that—

(a)during any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 when the premises are occupied under the tenancy—

(i)a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation;

(ii)a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance; and

(b)checks are made by or on behalf of the landlord to ensure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a bathroom or lavatory is to be treated as a room used as living accommodation.

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), a tenancy begins on the day on which, under the terms of the tenancy, the tenant is entitled to possession under that tenancy.

(4) In this regulation—

“new tenancy” means a tenancy granted on or after 1st October 2015, but does not include—

(a)

a tenancy granted in pursuance of an agreement entered into before that date;

(b)

a periodic shorthold tenancy which arises under section 5 of the Housing Act 1988(5) on the coming to an end of a fixed term shorthold tenancy;

(c)

a tenancy which comes into being on the coming to an end of an earlier tenancy, under which, on its coming into being—

(i)

the landlord and tenant are the same as under the earlier tenancy as at its coming to an end; and

(ii)

the premises let are the same or substantially the same as those let under the earlier tenancy as at that time;

“room” includes a hall or landing; and

“shorthold tenancy” means an assured shorthold tenancy within the meaning of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Housing Act 1988.

PART 3Remedial action

Duty of local housing authority to serve a remedial notice

5.—(1) Where a local housing authority has reasonable grounds to believe that, in relation to premises situated within its area, a relevant landlord is in breach of one or more of the duties under regulation 4(1), the authority must serve a remedial notice on the landlord.

(2) A remedial notice must—

(a)specify the premises to which the notice relates;

(b)specify the duty or duties that the local housing authority considers the landlord is failing or has failed to comply with;

(c)specify the remedial action the local housing authority considers should be taken;

(d)require the landlord to take that action within 28 days beginning with the day on which the notice is served;

(e)explain that the landlord is entitled to make written representations against the notice within 28 days beginning with the day on which the notice is served;

(f)specify the person to whom, and the address (including if appropriate any email address) at which, any representations may be sent; and

(g)explain the effect of regulations 6, 7 and 8, including the maximum penalty charge which a local housing authority may impose.

(3) 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 under paragraph (1).

Duty of relevant landlord to comply with a remedial notice

6.—(1) Where a remedial notice is served on a landlord who is in breach of one or more of the duties under regulation 4(1), the landlord must take the remedial action specified in the notice within the period specified in regulation 5(2)(d).

(2) A landlord is not to be taken to be in breach of the duty under paragraph (1) if the landlord can show he, she or it has taken all reasonable steps, other than legal proceedings, to comply with the duty.

Duty of local housing authority to arrange remedial action

7.—(1) 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 under regulation 6(1), the authority must, if the necessary consent is given, arrange for an authorised person to take the remedial action specified in the remedial notice.

(2) The local housing authority must ensure the authorised person takes the remedial action within 28 days beginning with the day on which the authority is first satisfied under paragraph (1).

(3) An authorised person must—

(a)give not less than 48 hours’ notice of the remedial action to the occupier of the premises on which it is to be taken; and

(b)if required to do so by or on behalf of the landlord or occupier, produce evidence of identity and authority.

(4) In paragraph (1) “the necessary consent” means the consent of the occupier of the premises on which the remedial action is to be taken.

(5) A local housing authority is not to be taken to be in breach of a duty under this regulation where the authority can show it has taken all reasonable steps, other than legal proceedings, to comply with the duty.

PART 4Penalty charges

Penalty for breach of the duty under regulation 6(1)

8.—(1) 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 under regulation 6(1), the authority may require the landlord to pay a penalty charge of such amount as the authority may determine.

(2) The amount of the penalty charge must not exceed £5,000.

(3) 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 under paragraph (1).

Content of penalty charge notice

9.—(1) A penalty charge notice must state—

(a)the reasons for imposing the penalty charge;

(b)the premises to which the penalty charge relates;

(c)the number and type of prescribed alarms (if any) which an authorised person has installed at the premises;

(d)the amount of the penalty charge;

(e)that the landlord is required, within a period specified in the notice—

(i)to pay the penalty charge, or

(ii)to give written notice to the local housing authority that the landlord wishes the authority to review the penalty charge notice;

(f)how payment of the penalty charge must be made; and

(g)the person to whom, and the address (including if appropriate any email address) at which, a notice requesting a review may be sent and to which any representations relating to the review may be addressed.

(2) A penalty charge notice may specify that if the landlord complies with the requirement in paragraph (1)(e)(i) or (ii) 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.

(3) The period specified under paragraph (1)(e) must not be less than 28 days beginning with the day on which the penalty charge notice is served.

Review of penalty charge notice

10.—(1) Paragraph (2) applies if, within the period specified under regulation 9(1)(e), the landlord serves a notice on the local housing authority requesting a review.

(2) The local housing authority must—

(a)consider any representations made by the landlord;

(b)decide whether to confirm, vary or withdraw the penalty charge notice; and

(c)serve notice of its decision to the landlord.

(3) A notice under paragraph (2)(c) confirming or varying the penalty charge notice must also state the effect of regulation 11.

Appeals

11.—(1) A landlord who is served with a notice under regulation 10(2)(c) confirming or varying a penalty charge notice may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against the local housing authority’s decision.

(2) The grounds for appeal are that—

(a)the decision to confirm or vary the penalty charge notice was based on an error of fact;

(b)the decision was wrong in law;

(c)the amount of the penalty charge is unreasonable;

(d)the decision was unreasonable for any other reason.

(3) 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.

(4) The Tribunal may quash, confirm or vary the penalty charge notice, but may not increase the amount of the penalty charge.

Recovery of penalty charge

12.—(1) The local housing authority may recover the penalty charge on the order of a court, as if payable under a court order.

(2) Proceedings for the recovery of the penalty charge may not be started before the end of the period specified under regulation 9(1)(e).

(3) Paragraph (4) applies if, within that period, the landlord gives notice to the local housing authority that the landlord wishes the authority to review the penalty charge notice.

(4) Proceedings for the recovery of the penalty charge may not be started—

(a)before the end of the period within which the landlord may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against the local housing authority’s decision on review; and

(b)where the landlord so appeals, before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the appeal is finally determined or withdrawn.

(5) In proceedings for the recovery of the penalty charge a certificate which is—

(a)signed by the local housing authority’s chief finance officer (within the meaning of section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989(6)), and

(b)states that the penalty charge has not been received by a date specified in that certificate,

is conclusive evidence of that fact, and a certificate to that effect and purporting to be signed is to be treated as being signed, unless the contrary is proved.

(6) Sums received by a local housing authority under a penalty charge may be used by the authority for any of its functions.

Information to be published by local housing authority

13.—(1) A local housing authority must prepare and publish a statement of principles which it proposes to follow in determining the amount of a penalty charge.

(2) A local housing authority may revise its statement of principles and, where it does so, it must publish the revised statement.

(3) In determining the amount of a penalty charge, a local housing authority must have regard to the statement of principles which was most recently prepared and published at the time when the breach in question occurred.

PART 5Notices

Service of notices

14.—(1) Any notice served on a landlord under these Regulations must be in writing and may be amended, suspended or revoked in writing at any time.

(2) A notice is to be taken to be served on a landlord on—

(a)the day it is given to the landlord in person;

(b)the second business day after it is sent by first class post to the landlord’s last known address;

(c)the day it is delivered by hand to the landlord’s last known address; or

(d)where the landlord has provided the local housing authority with an email address at which the landlord is content to accept service, the day it is sent by email to that address.

(3) The reference in paragraph (2)(b) and (c) to the landlord’s last known address includes a reference to the address last provided by the landlord in accordance with section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987(7) to a tenant of the landlord.

(4) If the name or address of any landlord on whom a notice is to be served under these Regulations cannot, after reasonable inquiry, be ascertained, the notice may be taken to be served on the day it is conspicuously affixed to a building or object on the premises to which the notice relates.

(5) In paragraph (2)(b) “business day” means any day other than a Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday, or a day which is a bank holiday in England under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971(8).

PART 6Licences under Parts 2 and 3 of the Housing Act 2004

Amendments to Schedule 4 to the Housing Act 2004

15.—(1) In paragraph 1 of Schedule 4 to the Housing Act 2004 (licences under parts 2 and 3: mandatory conditions)—

(a)in sub-paragraph (4)—

(i)before paragraph (a) insert—

(za)where the house is in England—

(i)to ensure that a smoke alarm is installed on each storey of the house on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation, and

(ii)to keep each such alarm in proper working order;;

(ii)in paragraph (a), at the beginning insert “where the house is in Wales,”

(iii)in paragraph (b), at the beginning insert “in either case,”;

(b)after sub-paragraph (4) insert—

(4A) Where the house is in England, conditions requiring the licence holder—

(a)to ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room in the house which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance;

(b)to keep any such alarm in proper working order; and

(c)to supply the authority, on demand, with a declaration by him as to the condition and positioning of any such alarm.; and

(c)after sub-paragraph (5) insert—

(6) In sub-paragraph (4A) “room” includes a hall or landing.

(7) For the purposes of sub-paragraphs (4) and (4A), a bathroom or lavatory is to be treated as a room used as living accommodation.

(2) The amendments made by paragraph (1) apply only to licences granted or renewed on or after 1st October 2015.

Signed by authority of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Brandon Lewis

Minister of State

Department for Communities and Local Government

17th September 2015

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