Throughout 2022 changes to smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations for rental properties have come into force. These changes in legislation differ across England, Scotland, and Wales. Use this guide to clarify your legal obligations as a landlord to ensure that you comply.
The new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022, effective in England from October 1st 2022, introduce changes to smoke and CO requirements in social housing. The provision of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in social housing is now equivalent to the private sector.
Landlords of both private rentals and social housing are now required to install at least one smoke alarm on every level of a rented property that has rooms that are classed as ‘living accommodation’.
The previous legislation Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 stipulated this only in relation to private rental properties.
As yet, there are no specifications included in the new regulations for the type of smoke alarm needed. Radio-interlinked smoke alarms are recommended for social and private rentals as they provide a more comprehensive warning system and allow the occupants more time to escape. This may be of particular importance in properties with young children, the elderly or if the occupant has any impairment or vulnerability that may impact their ability to escape. Inter-linked smoke alarms give a warning on all floors at the same time regardless of where the fire has occurred in the home. Battery radio-interlinked alarms are ideal as they do not require any wiring and so are quick and easy to install.
An alarm with a long-life 10 year battery is also an important consideration for landlords. This type of alarm has a battery that lasts the full lifetime of the alarm and so will not require anyone to change the batteries. Longlife alarms are also tamper-proof and offer better value for money.
With around 60% of fires in the home starting in the kitchen, a heat alarm is also strongly recommended in or near the kitchen area. Heat alarms react to a sharp rise in heat rather than smoke or fumes and are not triggered by cooking fumes or someone burning the toast. This eliminates the annoyance of false alarms that can lead to tenants tampering with smoke alarms.
In both private rental properties and in social housing, landlords should install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where there is a fixed combustion appliance. This could include gas boilers, gas fires, log burners or open fires, or oil fuelled appliances. Currently, gas cookers are excluded from the regulations although as they are a recognised source of carbon monoxide, it is recommended to fit a co alarm in any room containing a gas cooker or hob.
Whilst there are no specifications for the type of CO alarm that should be installed, landlords should be mindful of poor quality alarms such as ‘black spot’ or ‘patch’ co alarms. It is highly recommended that any carbon monoxide alarm installed should adhere to the latest British Standards.
Landlords should ensure that any smoke or carbon monoxide alarms in the rental property are in good working order at the start of a new tenancy. If an issue is reported with the alarm during the tenancy, it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix or replace the alarm ‘as soon as is reasonably practicable’.
Testing of all alarms are the responsibility of the tenant and should be carried out monthly. It is their responsibility to report any issues with the alarms to the landlord.
Fines of up to £5000 could be issued to landlords if these new regulations are breached.
The smoke and CO alarm regulations in Wales changed on 15th July 2022. Coming into line with the English regulations, rented homes in Wales are now required to have a smoke alarm on every floor of the property. The Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 has gone a step further than the English regulations to stipulate that all smoke alarms must be hard-wired into the property and inter-linked either wirelessly or using a wired system.
Landlords are also required to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a fuel burning appliance. This differs from the regulations for England as it includes gas cookers.
The deadline for complying with the new smoke alarm regulations is 15th July 2023 where there is already a tenancy in place. If a new tenancy begins before that date, smoke alarm regulations should be met before the new tenant moves into the property. The new Welsh carbon monoxide alarm regulations should be met immediately regardless of tenancy agreements.
Safelincs offers a full range of alarms suitable for the new Welsh regulations.
New Scottish smoke and carbon monoxide regulations came into effect in February 2022. All homes in Scotland, including rental properties should now be fitted with interlinking smoke and heat alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. The Scottish legislation stipulates the type of alarm that should be fitted and how many alarms are required.
Rental properties (and all other homes in Scotland) should have:
All smoke alarms must be inter-linked either through a wired or wireless system. They must be mains powered or have a tamper-proof lifetime battery. All alarms should be ceiling mounted and regularly maintained and tested.
All homes with a carbon fuelled appliance or flue should have a carbon monoxide alarm installed. The carbon monoxide alarm does not have to be interlinked but should be either mains powered or have a lifetime battery.
It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that these regulations are being met. In the case of rented homes, this refers to landlords.
Safelincs have a full range of alarms suitable for Scottish regulations.
|Alarm qty||Alarm type||Alarm qty||Alarm type||Alarm qty||Alarm type|
|Smoke alarm||1 on each habitable level||Not specified||1 on each habitable level||Hard wired & inter-linked||1 on each level plus 1 in most used day room||Hard wired or tamper-proof lifetime battery plus radio inter-linked|
|CO alarm||Required in each room where there is a fuel burning appliance||Required in each room where there is a fuel burning appliance||Required in each room where there is a fuel burning appliance|
(doc:755 V1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.