A: The Government announced on March 11 it would be applying powers to require smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted in residential properties.

However, ministers did not make clear in that announcement what rules they were proposing to implement

The order did not specify the type of alarm or any penalty for not installing one – landlords were left with a legal obligation to fit an alarm of an unspecified type in an unspecified place with an uncertain penalty for not doing so. This however is about to change as the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 are now available, albeit only in draft form.

The obligation is to fit a smoke alarm on each storey of the property that is adapted or used as residential accommodation and also to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel appliance.

The problem is there is still no definition of what constitutes an alarm, by reference to a British Standard or to anything else.

Nevertheless it gives local authorities the power to levy £5,000 fines on those not complying. Given this update and although only in draft form at the moment, I would urge all landlords that don’t already have alarms fitted to comply now to be ready when the legislation is passed.