Private landlords in West Sussex are being urged to act now to ensure they are ready for new safety laws aimed at saving dozens of lives a year.
The new regulations make it compulsory for all landlords to fit smoke alarms in rented homes and are expected to come into effect from October 2015, subject to Parliamentary approval.
Under the new laws smoke alarms must be fitted on every floor of the property as well as carbon monoxide alarms in properties which burn solid fuels.
Landlords must check the alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy with potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they do not comply.
To help landlords gear up for the new regulations the Government has provided fire and rescue services with a limited number of free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to give out to relevant landlords whose properties currently do not have alarms.
Nicki Peddle, Safer Communities Manager for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said:
“We are keen to work with local landlords to improve the safety of tenants across West Sussex. Landlords need to be clear that from October they have a legal responsibility to ensure that their properties are fitted with appropriate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
“We only have a limited supply of free alarms to support landlords in meeting the new legislation so all applications will be prioritised according to risk.
“If you a tenant living in a rented property without a working smoke detector, we’d urge you to contact your landlord so they can take action to comply with the new regulations.
“Of course once the alarms are fitted it is important for tenants to test them regularly, ideally once a week, by pushing the test button on the alarm.
West Sussex County Council's Cabinet Member for Resident Services', David Barling, added:
“Our emergency services see on a regular basis the life-saving difference these detectors make. Although the new regulations don’t come into force until October I would urge landlords to take action now to ensure their tenants are protected.”
The Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) has been campaigning for more than two years for the legislation to be introduced and presented key evidence and research into the Government’s national review of the issue.
While overall smoke alarm ownership in the country stands at around 90%, those living in private rented homes are far less likely to have a working smoke alarm. Statistically people are four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no working smoke alarm and over the next 10 years it is estimated that the new laws will result in 231 fewer deaths and 5,860 less injuries.
If you are a landlord in West Sussex wishing to apply for a free smoke detector please visit our Alarms4Life page or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.