smoke detector

Revisiting smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations

09 December 2019
In 2015, the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations were put in place by the UK Government, which was designed to reduce injury or death caused by smoke or carbon monoxide in rented accomodation. These regulations were only applied in England.

The regulations outlined that as of 1st October 2015, the installation and maintenance of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in private rented accommodation falls to the responsibility of the landlord. All floors of the building must have an alarm, as well as any room with a solid fuel-burning appliance such as a wood burner.

Landlords must also carry out checks to test that the alarms are in working order whenever a new tenant moves into the property.

Only 83% of rented properties in the private residential sector have working smoke alarms

What types of tenancy are affected?

The regulations apply to any private residential premises where a tenant occupies all or part of a property as part of a rental agreement.

Are there any exceptions?

The tenancies which are excluded from these regulations are where the tenant shares the accommodation with the landlord or the landlord’s family, long term leases, student halls, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals, hospices and other healthcare accommodation provisions.

When must the alarms be inspected?

Whenever a landlord has a new tenant, they must perform an inspection of all of the smoke or carbon monoxide alarms to check they are working correctly on the first day of the new tenancy.

Is there a penalty for failing to abide by the regulations?

If you are deemed to be failing to carry out these checks, your local housing authority can issue you with a £5,000 fine. Because there is rarely a method for checking compliance with the regulations, you should include a report of the alarms in an inventory for your tenants and ask them to sign a document that shows that you have carried out a test. Make a copy to keep in a tenant handbook and keep a copy for your records.

40% of fire-related deaths happen at properties without working smoke alarms

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Source: Zywave inc - Landlords and the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015

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