Legislation to change so that rented properties are fit for habitation

It has recently been announced that the legislation, Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 will change, effective from 15th July 2022. The new regulations are designed to ensure that private rented properties in Wales are fit for human habitation, including the provision of an adequate Fire and Carbon Monoxide alarm system.

Section 91 of the Act places an obligation on the landlord to ensure that their property is fit for human habitation from the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. The requirements of the legislation are within The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022.

The updates significantly affect the requirements for Fire and Carbon Monoxide alarms within rental properties. Under The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022, all private landlords in Wales must ensure that there is a working Smoke alarm on every storey of a property, e.g. hallway and landing; in addition, all Smoke alarms must be mains powered and interconnected with other Smoke alarms in the property. Landlords should refer to BS 5839-6:2013 for the recommended installation of the required Smoke alarms, however Aico would encourage landlords to reference BS 5839-6:2019+A1:2020. The manufacturer’s replacement date should also be noted to ensure the alarms remain fully operational.

Additional Smoke alarms can be installed in the property at the landlord’s discretion, for example, a larger property would benefit from additional Smoke alarms for greater protection and coverage. A landlord may also consider installing a Heat alarm in the kitchen.

The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 also requires landlords to ensure that a Carbon Monoxide alarm is present in any room which has a gas, oil or solid fuel burning appliance installed.

Aico’s National Technical Manager, Andy Speake, comments “The updated legislation is a great step towards ensuring there is adequate fire safety in rented properties in Wales, as previously there were no obligations for landlords regarding Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms. The enforcement of The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 is a positive move in the right direction and will ensure greater levels of protection for private tenants in Wales.”

In total, there are 29 matters and circumstances set out in the Act which determine whether a rental property is fit for human habitation, examples including damp and mould growth, fire, Carbon Monoxide, excess cold and heat and electrical hazards.

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