Your guide to the proposals to extend regulations on domestic smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

30 November 2020

The proposals include requiring social landlords to ensure at least one smoke alarm is installed on each storey of buildings; requiring carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted alongside the installation of fixed combustion appliances; and requiring private and social landlords to install carbon monoxide alarms in any room where a fixed combustion appliance is used.

Consultation is now open on the government’s proposals to extend regulations on domestic smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in both social and private rented accommodation. The proposals include requiring social landlords to ensure at least one smoke alarm is installed on each storey of a building where any rooms are used as living accommodation; requiring carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted alongside the installation of fixed combustion appliances of any fuel type; and requiring private and social landlords to install carbon monoxide alarms in any room used as living accommodation where a fixed combustion appliance is used. The consultation will be open until 11 January 2021.

Proposal 1: 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 proposals, social landlords will also be required to ensure that there is at least one smoke alarm installed on each storey of a building 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.

Proposal 2: Requiring installation of carbon monoxide alarms at the same time as installation of fixed combustion appliances of any fuel type

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. Under the proposals, the statutory guidance would 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.

Proposal 3: 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 is being proposed that would 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). The regulations will not include owner-occupiers, although it is recommended that homeowners install carbon monoxide alarms, too. As with smoke alarms, landlords would be required to ensure alarms are in working order on the first day of each new tenancy. 

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

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