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Mum and son lived with poison fume danger for years

11 September 2015

Mum and son lived with poison fume danger for yearsThe need for a new law to make landlords install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in private rented homes was underlined when a court heard mum and her young son were at risk of poisoning from a dangerous boiler for seven years.

Property company Rent4U Ltd, of Manchester, admitted two offences under gas safety laws and was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000 at Trafford Magistrates Court.

Magistrates heard the boiler in their buy to let home was tagged as ‘immediately dangerous’ after an engineer from the Health and Safety executive (HSE) visited the property.

The company had already faced action by the HSE for failing to provide valid gas certificates for two other buy to let homes, the court was told.

New regulations are due to come into force from October 1 require private landlords or their letting agents managing a tenancy to fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in all buy to let or houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Subject to government approval, the rules will demand landlords fit smoke alarms on each floor of a property.

They will also have to install a carbon monoxide alarm in every room with an appliance burning solid fuel, such as a gas boiler, gas fire or a stove burning wood or coal.

The regulations say a landlord or their letting agent must check working alarms are installed on the first day each tenancy starts.

Once a tenant moves in, they are responsible for regularly testing and maintaining the devices, but landlords and letting agents should have a procedure in place to make sure the tests are carried out.

The maximum penalty under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 is a fine of £5,000.

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: “Around 90% of private rented homes have smoke alarms but I want every tenant to have this protection. Working alarms give vital seconds to someone to escape a fire.

“Testing them regularly remains the responsibility of tenants.”