A quick and simple guide to smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm regulations
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
When is it in force from?
1st October 2015
Why is this important?
You are at least four times more likely to die in the event of a fire if there is no working smoke alarm.
Private sector landlords must comply with the regulations or they face a fine of up to £5,000 for a breach.
What must a landlord do?
The landlord must ensure there is at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance.
Who will enforce this?
The local authority can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.
Is there a grace period?
No. You must be compliant from 1st October.
Who is responsible for checking the alarms are in working order?
The landlord must test the alarms on the first day of the tenancy.
After this and for their own safety, tenants should take responsibility and test all alarms regularly to make sure they work. Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for a smoke alarm.
If the alarm is not working during the tenancy then a tenant should arrange the replacement of the batteries or the alarm itself if required with their landlord.
Do the regulations say what sort of alarm should be installed?
No. The regulations do not stipulate whether they should be hard wired or battery operated. The landlord should look at the different advice, consider their property and the occupants and make an informed decision on the best type for their property.
Do the regulations say where alarms have to go?
The stipulation is just that at least one smoke alarm should be on every storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room containing a solid burning fuel appliance.
In general, smoke alarms should be fixed to the ceiling in a circulation space i.e. a hall or landing.
A carbon monoxide alarm should be positioned at head height on a wall or a shelf approximately 1-3 meters away from the potential source of carbon monoxide.
The best thing to do is refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on the packet.
What if I just have a gas or oil boiler and not a log/coal burning stove?
It is encouraged that reputable landlords will ensure that a working carbon monoxide alarm is installed in rooms with these. But the regulations only impose the condition where there is a solid burning fuel appliance.
What is a new tenancy?
A new tenancy is an agreement that begins on or after 1st October 2015 and is not a renewal of a previous tenancy.
How can a landlord prove they tested the alarms on the first day of the tenancy?
Landlords and managers will come up with various ways to prove this. Our suggestion is to record it on the inventory and get the tenant to sign to say they are satisfied that the alarms are in working order. You could also take a dated photograph too.
For more questions about this or any other property management issue, please contact our experts at Michael Parkes Surveyors on 01634 294 994 or [email protected]