Back in 2015 The Smoke Alarm Regulations came into being. Now, apparently approx 30% of UK residents have never tested their smoke alarms so, what does all of this mean for landlords and tenants?
Let’s talk about landlords first:
- Landlords must install a smoke alarm on every floor of their rental property.
- Landlords must install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance (E.g. Coal fire, wood burning stove). Though not a requirement, it is advisable to also install one near a gas appliance.
- Licensed HMOs are exempt from this regulation as they must comply with separate fire safety regulations.
- Social housing landlords are exempt.
- Live-in landlords are exempt.
Whether exempt or not, it would behove all landlords to ensure the safety of their tenants.
- All alarms should be in working order at the start date of a new tenancy as per the tenancy start date stated in the tenancy agreement. This does not include tenancy renewals.
- It is advisable to obtain the tenant’s signature for them to confirm that the alarms were tested and working in their presence. This could be included in a document that also confirms they have received all documentation as per the “How To Rent Guide“.
- Or, it could be included in an inventory and schedule of condition.
There are no requirements for a specific type of alarm or on the location of the alarm installation. It is recommended to follow manufacturer’s instructions and that they are installed on a ceiling in a circulation space i.e. hall or landing. Carbon Monoxide detectors should be placed at head height and approx one to three metres from the solid fuel/ gas appliance. If in doubt on the installation of alarms you can also contact you local fire service for advice.
The failure to comply with these regulations is a fine of up to £5000 if the 28 day remedial notice has not been adhered to.
- Once the landlord has supplied working smoke alarms, the responsibility for the testing of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on a periodic basis becomes the tenant’s. Views differ on how often is often enough, but testing somewhere between a monthly and six monthly basis should be satisfactory.
- Tenants should report any issue(s) with a smoke and/ or carbon monoxide alarms promptly to their landlords in order that any issue(s) can be rectified.
Although it’s not a landlord’s responsibility to remind their tenants to test the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly, but in order to protect your investment it may be a wise choice to do so.
- Tenants must allow access for landlords in order for them to be compliant with the regulations.
If a tenant fails to allow access a landlord must advise the tenant in writing to advise of the landlord’s and tenant’s responsibilities and implications to their safety. A landlord will also need to be able to prove attempts at access in order to avoid being fined.
Providing an alarm system for your tenant(s) just makes sense even if it wasn’t a legal requirement as you are providing safety for your tenant(s) and the protection of your property investment.
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