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Naomi Murdoch

Naomi Murdoch
ARLA Propertymark Regional Rep


March 2020

Written before the Coronavirus pandemic

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Regional round-up

Whilst I could have written about how agents are preparing for compliance with the upcoming Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA), or that Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) checks are finally coming into force from 1 July 2020, or the impact of the 5th Money Laundering Directive, I was recently reminded about the important Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations in the context of inventory check ins.

In particular, how should agents comply in practice with the requirements of this important safeguarding law?

For me, I think that best practice starts on the valuation of the property with the landlord. Discuss all the current legal requirements of letting out a property, and thereby give the landlord ample time to fix or bring up to scratch what is required by law.

Then through the course of viewings, negotiators can highlight anything obvious that has not been resolved. Once a let is agreed, a pre-tenancy check a few days before the tenancy starts is the perfect opportunity to double-check that any agreed works have been completed, and issues such as the non-existence or non-functioning smoke alarms can be highlighted and resolved.

Finally, the inventory check-in compiled on the move-in day itself would be able to document that the alarms are present and tested to be working.

However, not all lets go to plan, and sometimes an alarm is identified as not working during the inventory check-in. Would you be able to get new batteries replaced on the day, or even an alarm installed if it were missing entirely? Or would you rely on the 28-day window to remedy the problem as long as it has been documented (which may comply with the regulations, but can’t provide full comfort to any tenants moving in)?

The pre-tenancy check reminded me of some of the benefits of the ‘annual property MOT’ suggested by Dr. Julie Rugg in her recent report on the PRS, and how if this were in place we would not have the discussions above about the correct timing of checks, etc.

Her view was that this property MOT was the best way to improve standards within the PRS. The Lettings Industry Council has been working on the same concept of the Property MOT/ Passport and even has agents testing the concept in practice.

The idea is that the MOT would be conducted before a tenancy starts, and would help standardise the process for letting, and provide the tenant with all relevant documentation and checks in one place and the assurance that the property is safe to live in.

The Passport/MOT would provide transparency and consistency of standards for tenants and landlords alike and would also benefit agents by helping to ensure that the property is ready to let well in advance of the move-in date, thus removing some of the move-in day stresses that everyone encounters. Let’s hope this sensible proposal becomes law sooner rather than later, but until then, don’t forget to document the checking of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on the move-in day itself.


ExCeL London



The ARLA Propertymark Conference and Exhibition celebrates 25 years. It is the largest event in the private rented sector and a firm fixture for suppliers wishing to network with the cream of the industry. More info...

Date: 7 December 2021
Venue: ExCeL, E16 1XL
Members: £200.00 +VAT
Non-members: £250.00 +VAT