Proactive Inventories

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

Who does the legislation apply to?

The updated legislation ensures that ALL rental properties and their residents are adequately protected against fire and carbon monoxide,

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 apply to all Landlords within England bar a few exceptions. Those exempt from the legislation include:

  • Landlords sharing accommodation with their tenants

  • Landlords granting a right of occupation for a term of 7 years or more

  • Landlords who are registered providers of social housing

Responsibility for the enforcement of the legislation lies with the relevant local housing authority, and breaches of the guidance can be punished by a fine of up to £5000. 

The legislation states that all detectors must be tested and agreed to be working in the presence of the tenant on the first day the tenancy commences.

How will this affect me?

Many landlords already provide excellent protection by installing smoke alarms throughout their properties. However, carbon monoxide detectors have not necessarily been considered part of a landlord’s duty of care in the past. The statistic that residents of rental properties are three times more likely to suffer a CO related incident than a homeowner highlights how important the provision of CO alarms is, and the new legislation is intended to redress this imbalance.

The new rules make the provision of both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors compulsory, but don't explicitly state exactly where landlords should site them. At present the legislation dictates that a landlord must ensure:

"a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation"

"a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance"

These two directives allow you to accurately calculate the amount of detectors required relative to the types of rooms on each floor, but fail to give guidance as to the exact placement or the type of smoke detector.

There are, however, a few general pieces of advice we can offer to help you establish the best locations for your alarms and the most suitable type of detector. It is impossible to offer advice that covers all eventualities, but these rules of thumb should give you a solid foundation from which to decide where to install your alarms.

Where exactly should I install the alarms?

The new rules make the provision of both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors compulsory, but don't explicitly state exactly where landlords should site them. At present the legislation dictates that a landlord must ensure:

"a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation"

"a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance"

These two directives allow you to accurately calculate the amount of detectors required relative to the types of rooms on each floor.

Who is responsible for maintaining the alarms?

In basic terms, landlords must ensure that alarms are provided and working, but routine maintenance and testing then falls to the occupants of the property. Should the alarms develop a fault or expire during a tenancy it remains the responsibility of a landlord to replace them.

The legislation states that a landlord must make certain that:

"checks are made by or on behalf of the landlord to ensure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins if it is a new tenancy"

Once the alarms have been established as working, whether a new tenancy or a tenancy overlapping the introduction of the legislation, many landlords ask tenants to sign a document confirming that alarms have been tested in their presence. This can also be used to clarify for the benefit of the tenants that the duty of maintenance falls to them from that point forwards.

What happens if I don’t comply?

Local housing authorities across England now have the power to serve remedial notices to any landlord they have “reasonable grounds to believe” is not in compliance with the regulations. Failure to take appropriate remedial action within the specified timeframe (usually 28 days) will leave you open to a fine of up to £5000 per property.

Image 01 Image 02 Image 03 Image 04 Image 05 Image 06 Image 07 Image 07