The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 were enacted on October 1, 2015.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 took effect on October 1, 2022. Starting from this date, all landlords in question must adhere to the following obligations:
1. Ensure that a minimum of one smoke alarm is installed on each level of their residential properties, specifically in areas used for living purposes. This has been a legal mandate in the private rental sector since 2015.
2. Make certain that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any living area containing a stationary combustion device, excluding gas cookers.
3. Ensure that any faulty smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are promptly repaired or replaced upon being informed of their malfunction.
These stipulations are enforced by local authorities, which have the authority to levy fines of up to £5,000 in cases where a landlord fails to adhere to a remedial notice.
These regulations should be considered in conjunction with other pertinent legislation related to fire and carbon monoxide safety in leased properties, including the Housing Act 2004, the Fire Safety Act 2021, and the Building Safety Act 2022.
The regulations do not specify the specific category of alarms, whether they are mains powered (‘hard-wired’) or battery powered, that must be installed.
We advise landlords to make their selection of smoke alarms in accordance with the specific requirements of their property and the preferences of their tenants. It is advisable that the chosen alarms comply with British Standards BS 5839-6. In cases where battery-powered alarms are chosen, it is recommended to opt for alarms with 'sealed for life' batteries as opposed to alarms with replaceable batteries.
The regulations do not specify the specific category of alarms, whether they are mains powered ('hard-wired') or battery powered, that must be installed.
Landlords are advised to exercise due diligence and select the type of carbon monoxide alarms in accordance with the specific requirements of their property and the preferences of their tenants, ensuring that these alarms adhere to British Standards BS 50291. In cases where battery-powered alarms are chosen, it is recommended to opt for alarms equipped with 'sealed for life' batteries as a superior choice over alarms with replaceable batteries.
The regulations do not specify the exact placement for the alarms.
However, it is required to have a minimum of one smoke alarm on each floor utilised as living space.
Landlords should adhere to the specific installation guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Typically, smoke alarms should be affixed to the ceiling in a common circulation area, such as a hallway or landing.
For additional installation guidance, you can contact your local fire and rescue authority or access fire safety information at www.gov.uk/firekills.
The regulations do not specify the precise locations for these alarms.
However, it is required to have a carbon monoxide alarm in each room designated for living purposes that contains a fixed combustion device, with the exception of gas cookers.
Landlords should adhere to the specific installation instructions provided by the alarm's manufacturer. In general, carbon monoxide alarms should be placed at head height, either on a wall or shelf, and positioned approximately 1-3 meters away from any potential carbon monoxide source.
For additional guidance on installation, you can consult your local fire and rescue authority, or you can access fire safety information at www.gov.uk/firekills.
Landlords bear the responsibility for repairing or replacing alarms that are malfunctioning.
Should tenants discover that their alarms are not functioning correctly while they are in occupancy, it is recommended that they take the initiative to replace the batteries.
In situations where replacing the batteries doesn't resolve the issue, or if tenants are unable to perform the battery replacement themselves, they should promptly inform the respective landlord.
Testing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms doesn't demand any specialized expertise and should be a straightforward process for tenants.
Landlords might want to provide residents with a demonstration or clear instructions to help them understand how and how often to test their smoke alarms to ensure they're functioning correctly. It's advisable for landlords to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for alarm testing and consider sharing these instructions with tenants to encourage regular testing.
Should tenants come across alarms that are not operational while they are renting the property, they are encouraged to take the initiative to replace the batteries.
If, even after replacing the batteries, the alarm remains non-operational, or if tenants are unable to perform the battery replacement themselves, it's essential that they promptly report this issue to the respective landlord.
Landlords should make a well-informed decision when selecting the most suitable alarms for their properties and tenants, taking into consideration the unique circumstances of their residents.
For instance, residents who are deaf or hard of hearing may require specialised smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms that use visual or tactile alerts, such as flashing lights or vibrations, rather than relying solely on audible alarms.
Landlords should also consider their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.
For further information on the above legislation, please visit The Government website here.