A breakdown on The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

A breakdown on The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

Following on from this post.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 have been approved by parliament and will come into force as planned on 1 October 2015. Private sector landlords are required from 1 October 2015 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

 What do the regulations require?
The regulations require private rented sector landlords, from 1 October 2015, to have:

  • At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation.
  • A carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used. After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

Who is responsible for checking the required alarms are in working order?
The regulations require landlords to ensure alarms are installed in their properties with effect from 1 October 2015. After that the landlord (or someone acting on behalf of the landlord) must ensure all alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. After the landlord’s test on the first day of the tenancy, tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order. Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for smoke alarms. If tenants find that their alarm(s) are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange the replacement of the batteries or the alarm itself with the relevant landlord.

Is there a ‘grace’ period for landlords?
No. Landlords are expected to be compliant from 1 October 2015. There will be no grace period after this date to install the required alarms.

When must the alarms be checked?
For each new tenancy beginning on or after 1 October 2015, landlords must check that the required alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy. The first day of the 7 tenancy is the date stipulated in the tenancy agreement, even where the tenant decides to actually move into the property on a later date.

Exclusions from the Requirements:

  1. Social housing
  2. Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
  3. Live-in landlords
  4. Long leases
  5. Student halls of residence
  6. Hostels and refuges
  7. Care homes, hospitals, hospices and other NHS accommodation

FAQ: Alarms

What type of alarm should be installed?
The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as hard wired or battery powered) to be installed. Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the best alarms for their properties and tenants.

Can heat detectors be installed in place of smoke alarms?
No. The regulations require smoke alarms to be installed on every storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance. Heat detectors are not a replacement for smoke alarms.

Does a carbon monoxide alarm need to be installed in rooms with gas or oil appliances?
No. Carbon monoxide alarms are only required in rooms containing a solid fuel burning appliance (i.e. rooms containing an open fire, log burning stove, etc.). However, as gas appliances can emit carbon monoxide, we would expect and encourage reputable landlords to ensure that working carbon monoxide alarms are installed in rooms with these.

Should alarms be situated in a certain place?
The regulations do not stipulate where the alarms should be placed, just that at least one smoke alarm should be on every storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room containing a solid fuel burning appliance.

You should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions when installing the alarms. However, in general, smoke alarms should be fixed to the ceiling in a circulation space, i.e. a hall or a landing, and carbon monoxide alarms should be positioned at head height, either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1-3 metres away from a potential source of carbon monoxide. If needed, your local fire and rescue authority may be able to provide further advice on installation or you can download fire safety information from www.gov.uk/firekills

Definition:

Relevant landlord.
A ‘relevant landlord’ is the immediate landlord in respect of the tenancy

New tenancy.
A ‘new tenancy’ is a tenancy agreement that begins on or after 1 October 2015 and is not a renewal of a previous tenancy agreement.

Living accommodation.
The regulations require at least one smoke alarm to be installed on every storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. A carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. In general, a room is classed as “living accommodation” if it is used for the primary purposes of living, or is a room in which a person spends a significant amount of time. The regulations specifically stipulate that a bathroom or lavatory would be classed as living accommodation.

More can be found at these links:

Link 1  & Link 2

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