Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
New smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations will come into force on 1 October 2015. This will require private sector landlords to ensure that at least one smoke alarm is installed on every storey of their rented property, and a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance. Landlords will also need to make sure that these alarms are in proper working order at the start of each new tenancy.
The new regulations also amend the conditions included in a licence under Part 2 or 3 of the Housing Act 2004 in respect of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
In the case of a licensed HMO it is the responsibility of the licence holder to ensure that the new regulations are followed.
After 1st October 2015, landlords must ensure that at least one smoke alarm is installed on each storey of all properties occupied under a tenancy or licence. If it is possible to fit a hard wired alarm system this is preferable, but single standalone alarms are also acceptable. Landlords are recommended to fit tamperproof alarms to avoid the possibility that tenants may remove the batteries. The regulations suggest following the manufacturer’s guidance regarding placement of the alarms.
Carbon monoxide alarms
After 1st October 2015, landlords must ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in all rooms which contain a solid fuel burning appliance, in all properties occupied under a tenancy or licence. This applies to any kind of wood burning stove, open coal fire and Aga. Building regulations already cover the installation of new solid fuel burning appliances, but the new regulations are designed to cover existing appliances. The regulations suggest following the manufacturer’s guidance regarding placement of the alarms, typically at head height between 1-3 meters away from the appliance.
The landlord is required to check that the alarm is in proper working order on the day a new tenancy begins. Renewals of existing contracts and periodic tenancies are not considered new tenancies. After the initial check by the landlord, it will become the tenant’s responsibility to check the alarms. We recommend that landlords ask tenants sign the inventory agreeing that the alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy. Failure to check the alarms on the first day of the tenancy would be a breach of the regulations.
These new regulations may affect the requirements for the provision of alarms in HMOs. In most HMOs the fire safety guidance provided by LACoRS will still be applicable. More advice can be requested on a case by case basis by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01903 737755.