The Fire Safety (Protection of Tenants) Bill is currently before Parliament. It’s objective is to ensure that all rented residential properties have a fire detection system which complies with modern standards. This means that all landlords will be required to install a mains operated battery backed smoke alarm before the tenancy agreement is signed.
If the legislation is passed the tenant will be required to test the smoke alarm at least once a month and notify the landlord of any defects, who will then be required to carry out the repairs.
Where a landlord fails to comply with the legislation commits an offence with a sentence of 12 months in prison and or a fine of £5,000 or for more serious offences up to two years in prison and or a fine.
The bill is in its very preliminary stages and because it is not directly supported by the government it is extremely unlikely to be made law. There will also be a need for secondary legislation to be created to pass enforcement powers to local authorities. This means that enforcement will probably be by trading standards or environmental health officers as is the case with EPCs or HMOs. Given the substantial pressure on local authority budgets this new challenge is unlikely to be welcomed.