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Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Rented Accommodation

open solid fuel fire

We have received a number of queries from landlords unsure of their obligations under the new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. Here we aim to clarify which properties are affected and the obligations that landlords must meet.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into effect on 1 October 2015 and effect private rented sector landlords and their properties.

The requirements

The Regulations require at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used.

Alarms must be in place from 1 October 2015 and the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order on the first day of each new tenancy. Tenants are responsible for testing the alarms for the remainder of the tenancy.

Smoke alarms/carbon monoxide alarms

The Regulations do not specify the type of alarms that must be fitted and they can be hard wired or battery powered. Heat detectors are not permitted as a substitute for smoke alarms.

It is worth noting that whilst the provisions for smoke alarms will affect most private landlords, carbon monoxide alarms are only required for solid fuels and not for appliances using gas or oil. Therefore, if the room has an open fire or wood burning stove then a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted. If the room has a gas or oil boiler, gas fire or other gas appliance, a carbon monoxide alarm is not required by law although we may recommend in some instances that landlords consider have one fitted, especially for older appliances.

Licenced HMO, selectively licenced properties, social housing landlords and live-in landlords are not included within the provisions of these Regulations.

Definitions used in the Regulations

New tenancy: an agreement that begins after 1 October 2015 but is not a renewal of a previous tenancy agreement between the same landlord and tenant(s).

Living accommodation: any room or property in which a person spends a significant amount of time. This includes bathrooms and lavatories.

Storey: although not defined in the Regulations, the Government guidance does not consider a mezzanine floor to be a storey.

Room: can be deemed to be a hall or landing

Further reading

Government document – explanatory booklet for landlords



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