Despite concerns from a number of MPs, Lords and industry organisations including ARLA, the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide regulations (England) have been passed into law and will come into force on 1 October as planned.
Before being passed by both houses, the draft regulations were scrutinised and criticised by industry leading organisations and agents in the field for setting unrealistic time scales for landlords to implement changes to ensure compliance with the new regulations.
Following the debate in the Grand Committee of the House of Lords on Monday 9 September, where several Members including Lord Marlesford voiced their concerns about the realistic timings of these regulations, David Cox wrote to Brandon Lewis the Housing Minister (letter attached) proposing that existing tenancies should be allowed to have until 1 January 2016 to comply.
During the debate, Lord Marlesford, a Conservative said he only got involved when he suddenly realised, that the statutory instrument was to be brought into full force on 1 October after the Government issued a guidance note on how it would all work on 4 September – just three weeks before the regulations were due to come into force. He was concerned that the guidance included no grace period for landlords.
In the rescheduled debate on Monday 14 September Lord Marlesford gave evidence as to how badly the Government had administrated the whole process.
“The way in which this has been handled is thoroughly unsatisfactory. It is not good government. This Government have a responsibility not just for working out the right policies but for doing so in a proper way. It is not being done in a proper way, and that is lamentable.”
“The Association of Residential Letting Agents, responsible for 1.42 million properties, states: “It is not possible to undertake this amount of work before the regulations come into force”, and that, “all existing tenancies should be allowed to have until 1st January 2016 to comply”.
David Cox, ARLA Managing Director said: “Despite having concerns about the time period in which landlords have to comply with the regulation, ARLA fully supports the principle that all tenants should benefit and expect a working smoke and carbon monoxide alarm in their property. We have provided a Fact Sheet to our members on what to do to comply with the draft regulations, delivered events to highlight the issue and built a partnership with the Gas Safe Register to promote the wider issue of gas safety in property.”
What happens now?
The regulations will become law on Thursday, 1 Oct 2015.
Will there be a grace period?
On the grace period issue the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Williams of Trafford) said:
“I hope that I can clarify that, in effect, the grace period means that the landlord has 28 days to comply after the local authority has been notified that the landlord is not compliant. The landlord has 28 days from the issuing of a remedial notice to comply. I hope that that clarifies things”.
Fact Sheets for members on how to comply with new regulations, ‘Danger, Do Not Use’ notices, andlegal responsibilities for Gas Safety as detailed in The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
ARLA Events – which often include updates about smoke and carbon monoxide regulations
Read about our Gas Safe Register partnership
Gas Safe Register – lots of useful information
ARLA Legal helpline – 0330 124 12 12