Updated smoke and carbon monoxide alarm rules

- Fri 21 Jan 2022

Private landlords have been required since 2015 to provide working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors where applicable in rented property. However at the end of Nov 2021 the Government concluded its consultation with regard a proposed extension of the rules relating to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in domestic rented accommodation in England.

As a result of this consultation plans were approved by parliament, applying to both the private rented sector (PRS) and also the social sector, in that there will be a legal requirement for a landlord to replace or repair any alarms reported as faulty within a tenanted or occupied property. However routine testing of all working alarms remain the responsibility of any tenant or occupier. Tenants also remain responsible for replacing batteries in alarms where the same are not mains wired.

The new rules also dictate that any landlord is now obliged to make sure a carbon monoxide alarm is fitted in all rooms of a residential dwelling where there is a fixed combustion appliance in situ which includes any gas central heating boilers. An exemption from this requirement however applies to gas cookers.

ARLA Propertymark, with whom we are a member, summarise the keys changes as follows:

  • Smoke alarms will be mandatory in all social rented homes.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms will be mandatory in rooms with a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers) in both private and social rented homes.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms will also be mandatory upon installation of any heating appliance (excluding gas cookers) in all tenures through building regulations.
  • Landlords will be expected to repair or replace alarms once informed that they are faulty.

The UK Government will also amend the statutory guidance (Approved Document J) supporting Part J of the Building Regulations relating to where alarms are fitted and to ensure that alarms meet relevant standards.

The UK Government are therefore poised to amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

On a practical level we are aware that for many years competent gas engineers have been making a recommendation for the installation of carbon monoxide alarms where there is a gas boiler, though there has been no legal requirement to do so in most cases. As such many landlords will already be compliant with the new rules as installation of alarms has always been considered best practice and something we have actively encouraged as agents.

If you require any help or guidance on this subject, or indeed any other aspect of current lettings legislation, please do not hesitate to contact us as she should be delighted to help