London Fire Brigade

Brigade warns private landlords about the risk of ignoring new safety law

01 October 2015

We are warning thousands of London landlords that they could be at risk falling foul of a new law which comes into effect today.

£5,000 fine

From today (October 1) private landlords could be slapped with a £5,000 fine if they don't fit a smoke alarm on each floor of their rental properties and in some cases, carbon monoxide alarms too.

The government has provided free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to help landlords get ready for the change in the law and asked fire and rescue services to provide them to landlords with the most vulnerable tenants. 

Only a fraction of landlords take up free alarm offer

We reveal today that only a tiny fraction of London landlords from the targeted at risk postcodes have come forward to claim them. 

Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Neil Orbell said: "We are deliberately targeting areas of London that we have identified as having a greater risk of having fires.

"If you are a private landlord and your property is in an ‘at risk’ area you can get alarms from us free of charge. Your tenants are at risk and we can help you better protect them and your property.

"Tenants can also play a part in taking responsibility for their own safety by reminding their landlords about the new legislation if there are no smoke or carbon monoxide alarms in their home."

Vulnerable tenants and landlords difficult to reach

Assistant Commissioner Orbell continued: “Part of the problem is that vulnerable tenants and their landlords are difficult to reach. To combat this our firefighters have invested a lot of time trying to spread the message as part of their community safety work as well as contacting landlords associations, estate agents and community leaders.”

Campaign continues

We  will continue our campaign to make sure that landlords and tenants understand the risk of fire, and the new obligations being introduced.  We will also continue to provide the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to people in higher risk areas via our on-line application process.

London Fire Brigade has been calling for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms  to be mandatory in privately rented homes for number of  years. While overall smoke alarm ownership in the UK stands at around 90 per cent, those living in private rented homes are far less likely to have a working smoke alarm.*

National statistics from the DCLG show people are four more times likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no working smoke alarm and over the next ten years, it is estimated the new laws will result in around 230 fewer deaths and 5,860 fewer injuries.

The new legislation will also require landlords to check that all alarms are working in their properties at the start of each tenancy. These regulations do not apply to social landlords and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) as these are both covered by existing laws.

* The DCLG English Housing Survey 2013/14