Your guide to the extended regulations on domestic smoke and carbon monoxide alarms [+ video]

24 November 2021

The government has confirmed an extension to the regulations for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, which will include requiring landlords to install a smoke alarm in social rented homes, and private and social landlords to install carbon monoxide alarms in any room where a fixed combustion appliance is used.

Following a consultation on the government’s proposals to extend regulations on domestic smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in both social and private rented accommodation, the government has now confirmed its plans amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. The new regulations will make smoke alarms mandatory in all social rented homes, carbon monoxide alarms will need to be fitted in all rented properties with gas boilers or fires - in all rooms with a fixed combustion device - plus all landlords will be required to fix faulty alarms once informed of any issue. These amendments aim to "bring parity between the rental sectors in respect of safety" and will be implemented "as soon as parliamentary time allows".

Carbon monoxide video

Mandating smoke alarms in the social rented sector

Since 2015, private sector landlords have been required to install at least one smoke alarm in rooms used either wholly or partly as living accommodation and ensure that the alarms are in working order at the start of each tenancy under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. A review of the regulations in 2018 found that they had had “a positive impact on the number of alarms installed” and also suggested the regulations should be expanded to cover both the private and social rented sector.

Under the extended regulations, social landlords will be required to ensure that there is at least one smoke alarm installed where there are any rooms used wholly or partly as living accommodation, and ensure that the alarms are in proper working order on the first day of each new tenancy. The tenants will then be responsible for testing these alarms monthly as it would be "too burdensome to require landlords to do this". 

Requiring installation of carbon monoxide alarms at the same time as installation of fixed combustion appliances of any fuel type (excluding gas cookers)

Since 2015, private sector landlords have been required to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid-fuel burning appliance under the Building Regulations Approved Document J. As with smoke alarms, the regulations also require private landlords to ensure the alarms are in working order at the start of each tenancy. The statutory guidance will be amended so that carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted upon the installation of fixed combustion appliances of any fuel type (excluding gas cookers). These requirements apply to installations in new and existing homes regardless of whether they are private or social rented accommodation or owned. Guidance will also be updated on the positioning of alarms and repairing faulty alarms. 

Requiring installation of carbon monoxide alarms in any room with a fixed combustion appliances of any fuel type

In addition to proposing that carbon monoxide alarms be installed at the same time as the installation of fixed combustion appliances, an amendment to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 will require both private and social landlords to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where there is a fixed combustion appliance of any fuel type (excluding gas cookers). As with smoke alarms, landlords would be required to ensure alarms are in working order on the first day of each new tenancy, and will need to repair or replace any faulty carbon monoxide alarms once made aware of any issue. 

This article is intended as a guide only. For more information on the proposals, see gov.uk.

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