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Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations for landlords

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You might believe that a fire or incident of carbon monoxide poisoning is unlikely to happen in your rental property. Sadly, such tragedies are all too common with several people falling victim to disasters in the home every year.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

Rental properties and smoke alarms

As a residential landlord, you have a legal responsibility to protect your tenants from the risks of fire and carbon monoxide. In taking care of your tenants, you are also protecting your property from serious damage

But what are the regulations that you must adhere to?

Keeping up to date

It is vital that you acquaint yourself with current regulations for landlords regarding carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms.

You should be aware that fire regulations for rental properties can change at any time and ignorance is no excuse. Regulations can be imposed nationally, regionally or locally. Keep abreast of any new laws which apply to your property or you could find yourself facing a heavy fine or even a custodial sentence.

In the worse-case scenario, you might have to live with the guilt of knowing that you didn’t do everything you could to prevent the death of a tenant.

Smoke alarms in rental properties – single household occupancy

The current regulations in England require private landlords to install at least one smoke alarm on each storey of a property in which there is a room used as living accommodation.

The regulations outline the minimum you should do, but the more alarms you install, the safer your property will be for your tenants. Additional alarms might provide occupants with a few extra seconds to escape, which could make all the difference.

The smoke alarms that you install should be audible throughout the property and positioned to maximise their potential to detect smoke. This would normally be in a circulation space such as a hall or landing. An interconnected fire alarm system featuring mains-powered alarms is recommended.

You must ensure that the alarms are in proper working order at the beginning of each new tenancy. However, you are not responsible for testing the alarms during the tenancy. It is advisable to fit alarms with long-life batteries and to remind your tenants that they should check battery-powered, free-standing smoke alarms monthly. Any issues found should be reported to you as soon as possible.

Long leases or tenancies which grant occupation for seven or more years and accommodation shared with you, the landlord, are exempt from the regulations.

Smoke alarms in HMOs

The fire safety regulations are more stringent for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). This is because research has shown that the risks are greater when unrelated people live together. HMO fire regulations vary from one local authority to another. It is therefore essential to check the rules in your area.

At the very minimum, an HMO of one or two storeys will require an appropriate mains-powered, interconnected smoke alarm system plus an additional interlinked heat alarm, fitted with integral battery back-up and located in the kitchen.

HMOs of three or more storeys should be fitted with a mains-powered system with a central panel and a heat alarm in the kitchen.

A fire risk assessment must also be carried out in the communal parts of HMOs. If you do not feel qualified to perform this assessment yourself, engage a professional to conduct it for you. Fire safety is such an important issue that nothing should be left to chance.

Carbon monoxide alarm regulations

As a landlord, carbon monoxide is an issue which can never be ignored. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in all rooms which feature a solid fuel-burning appliance. If your property has a gas appliance, carbon monoxide detectors are also recommended.

Even if your property has no solid fuel or gas appliances present, carbon monoxide detectors are advisable. This is particularly true if you own a flat in a building, where you have no control over the other units.

Carbon monoxide alarms should be fitted at head height and within three metres of the relevant appliance.

The regulations do not stipulate which type of alarms you should install but it is advisable to avoid cutting corners with the cheapest option.

Fire extinguishers and fire blankets

Landlords are not required to provide fire extinguishers or fire blankets in single household properties.

If your property is an HMO, you are required to provide fire blankets in all kitchen areas and at least one fire extinguisher for each storey of the property. Escape routes should be clearly identified.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Please note that the regulations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may vary from those in England. If you own a property in these countries, check the laws which apply to you.

Exceeding the minimum requirements

You should always consider the safety standards required by law to be the minimum that you adhere to. Conduct your own risk assessments or engage an expert to do this for you and then do everything you can to improve safety in your property.

How Assetgrove could help you

Ensuring that you adhere to the law and keep your tenants safe can be time-consuming. In addition, it’s hard to keep abreast of changes to the regulations. At Assetgrove we understand this and have developed our Guaranteed Rent Scheme, which offers landlords hassle-free letting. You will benefit from fixed monthly payments, even if your property is not tenanted. We offer up to five years’ guaranteed rent and will manage every single aspect of the tenancy during this period – with no monthly fees or commission.

If you are concerned about adhering to health and safety regulations or any aspect of renting your property, contact us today.

Neil Jennings

Neil background is in marketing and business development and has over 20 years experience in the field. He runs Asset Grove and is involved in the marketing strategy for most of our campaigns.

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