Landlords will be required, by law, to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis.
The proposed changes are expected to take effect in October 2015, and will require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.
Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms . such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed. Those who fail to install these alarms can face sanctions and civil penalties up to £5,000.
According to statistics, the move will help prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year. As it stands, people are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there's no working smoke alarm.
England's 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected to support local private landlords by providing them with free alarms, thanks to grant funding from government.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said,
â€œIn 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed . now it's over 90%.
â€œThe vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I'm changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.
But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant's responsibility.â€
In related news, the government is supporting the private rented sector by building £1bn's worth of properties specifically for private rent, and giving tenants support against rogue landlords. The government is also going to release a How to rent guide so tenants and landlords alike are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
This legislation will bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations, which already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.