Since 1st October 2015, private sector landlords have been required to ensure that at least one smoke alarm is installed on every storey of each of their rented properties, and that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room which contains a solid fuel burning appliance. They are also required to ensure that such alarms are in proper working order at the start of each new tenancy.
As the enforcing authority for The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 “the Regulations”, the council has the following statutory duties.
- Where it has reasonable grounds to believe a relevant landlord is in breach of the Regulations, it must, within 21 days, serve a notice on the landlord requiring remedial action within 28 days; and
- Where it is satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, a relevant landlord has failed to comply with such a notice, it must arrange for remedial action to be taken (i.e. the fitting of alarms appropriate to the premises concerned).
Under the Regulations, the council may impose a penalty charge of up to £5,000 on any landlord who does not comply with a remedial notice. Before imposing any penalty charge, the Regulations require the council to prepare and publish a statement of principles which it proposes to follow in determining the amount of any such charge.
The council’s adopted Statement of Principles is as follows:
- Fires and carbon monoxide have the potential to cause serious injury and death.
- Non-compliance with The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 (“the Regulations”) is a serious matter.
- Therefore, Thanet District Council will impose penalty charges in accordance with the Regulations.
- Penalty charges should be proportionate to the potential harm arising from non-compliance.
- No penalty charge may exceed the statutory maximum of £5,000.
- Penalty charges should be punitive in nature and not just cover the cost of remedial works, officer time, recovery expenses and administration.
- All penalty charges should represent a significant financial deterrent.
- In the interests of proportionality, the first penalty charge notice served on a landlord should be at a lower level than that for any subsequent penalty charge notice served on the same landlord.
- In order to encourage prompt payment, the penalty charge should be subject to a 50% discount if paid within 14 days of the service of the penalty charge notice.
The council’s Schedule of Penalty Charges is as follows:
- First penalty charge notice: £2,500 (or £1,250 if paid within 14 days of the date of service of the notice).
- Any subsequent penalty charge notice served on a landlord who has previously been subject to such a notice: £5,000 (or £2,500 if paid within 14 days of the date of service of the notice).