New rules to be introduced in the private rented sector

new-rules-to-be-introduced-in-the-private-rented-sector

Mandatory smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms will be introduced to private rented sector properties in Northern Ireland, a long-overdue change that Propertymark supports.     

Under the Smoke, Heat and Carbon Monoxide Alarms for Private Tenancies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024, there are three key changes for rented property:

A smoke alarm to be installed in the main living room, and in every circulation space on each storey (hall, landing area).

A heat alarm installed in every kitchen.

A carbon monoxide alarm installed in any room or circulation space which contains a fixed combustion appliance or a flue (that will include any bedrooms a flue passes through).

Letting agents need to be aware that smoke and heat alarms must be interlinked to ensure the alarms can communicate with each other. A carbon monoxide alarm does not need to be linked to smoke and heat alarms. However, if there is more than one carbon monoxide alarm, these must be interlinked to each other.

The changes come in under Section 8 of the Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022, which creates compulsory duties for both tenants and landlords within the private rented sector regarding these alarms for the first time in Northern Ireland.  

The deadlines for compliance are as follows: 

New tenancies must be compliant from 1 September 2024 

Existing tenancies must be compliant from 1 December 2024.

Propertymark says it first raised the need for mandatory smoke and carbon alarms in January 2017 in response to the Department for Communities published proposals for significant changes to the sector in Northern Ireland. The organisation has since lobbied on the introduction of the Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 and the development of these proposals.  

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, said: “Propertymark welcomes the introduction of mandatory smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms in private rented property in Northern Ireland. These measures will improve the safety of tenants and help professionalise the sector.

“We have long called for these reforms, and it is pleasing to see a lead in time for letting agents and their landlords to comply. We encourage agents to understand the changes and get ahead by installing and checking alarms before the new regulations come fully into force later in the year.”  

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