The government announced earlier this year plans to give councils the power to fine landlords up to £5,000 if their properties lacked working smoke alarms.
These rules had been due to come into force on 1 October 2015.
However, draft legislation has been rejected by the House of Lords. The house said the proposed introduction of the scheme was too soon, claimed the government bill was poorly worded and said little had been done to inform landlords of the rule changes.
The British Property Federation said it supports the legislation but warned that a revised bill could be implemented, giving landlords even less time to make changes.
This would leave them risking a £5,000 fine unless they are able to immediately install working alarms.
Ian Fletcher, director of real estate policy at the British Property Federation, said awareness of the plans was low, with many landlords yet to hear about the planned rule changes.
“We have been fully supportive of the campaign to make smoke alarms compulsory in private rented properties and are therefore extremely disappointed to see this unnecessary delay in proceedings,” he said.
“The original timeframe for the legislation was tight but allowing time for a further debate in the Lords is going to make this even worse. Coupled with the fact that there has been no publicity on the changes, we are worried that many landlords are going to be caught out by the fine as a result of the government’s disorganisation and lack of clarity.
“It is particularly frustrating that one of the reasons that this revocation has happened is because the introduction is worded poorly, as there has been no consultation on this.”