10 September 2014

Labour MP Nick Raynsford has called for it to be mandatory for all private rented properties to have working smoke alarms fitted.

Speaking during the Department of Communities and Local Government question time, Raynsford  said: ”In its consultation earlier this year on the future of the private rented sector, the minister’s department proposed the possibility of extending a requirement to have working smoke alarms fitted in all private rented units.

“I understand that there has been overwhelming support for that in the response to the consultation, and I would welcome an indication from the minister as to when the government intend to act on this recommendation.”

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis replied: "As soon as we are ready to respond to that consultation, the Right Hon. Gentleman will be among the first to know.”

Former housing Minister Raynsford has been campaigning on the issue for some time.

He explained: “Real progress has been made in the past decade to reduce the number of domestic fire deaths, but much more can be done. Almost one in five privately rented homes still do not have a smoke detector, putting over 650,000 households at increased risk of death.

“When installing a sealed smoke alarm with a 10 year battery costs about £15, it is absurd to call this a regulatory burden. It is a matter of life and death. Without a smoke alarm, you are four times more likely to die in a fire.”

He continued: “Private tenants know that when they move into a property, by law their landlord must issue a gas safety certificate. Let’s make it the same for smoke alarms. I call on the Government to bring forward this simple yet lifesaving measure without any further delay.”

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.