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Smoke Alarm Regulations

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations

It goes without saying that inhaling smoke and carbon dioxide is incredibly harmful for the body. Smoke has the potential to inflame your airways and cause respiratory failure. And carbon monoxide poisoning can also cause severe damage to the body. High levels of carbon monoxide reduce the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream which in turn, stops oxygen reaching tissues and vital organs. The end result can eventually be brain damage, heart failure and even death.

Thankfully, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are available to protect you from these risks. However, it’s crucial that you and your alarms comply with the regulations.

What are the Key Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations?

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations were introduced in 2015 to improve fire safety and protect homes in the private rented sector. The main regulations that you need to be aware of are the following:

  • A smoke alarm needs to be installed on every storey of the premises that are either fully or partly used as living accommodation.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in any room which is used, in any way, as living accommodation or contains an appliance that uses solid fuel burning combustion.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms need to be tested and confirmed as being in good working order when a tenancy commences.
  • Although not a legal obligation, it is recommended that landlords conduct regular testing to confirm that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in good working order.

All of these regulations are logical and sensible steps that can make a significant difference to the safety of all properties. But how do you make sure you comply with them?

How to Comply with the Regulations

It’s down to private landlords to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their rented properties, so they need to take the initiative to comply with the legislation. If you’re a landlord then you need to take note of the following:

  • It’s important to understand what constitutes a storey used as a living accommodation. A bathroom may not feel like a living accommodation, but the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations classes it as one. Meanwhile, a floor of a property which is purely used for access is not classed as a living accommodation and does not need an alarm.
  • There is no obligation to install a specific type of smoke or carbon dioxide alarm. As long as the alarm is in good working order and capable of detecting threats then it will comply with the existing regulations.
  • All alarms need to be installed and operating from day one of any new tenancy. Therefore, to avoid hefty fines, it is recommended that checking the status or existing alarms (or installing new ones) should be one of the earliest steps to take when renting a property.
  • Once a tenant moves in it is down to the tenant to regularly test the alarms with a recommendation of once a month. However, it is recommended that private landlords also take the initiative to test the alarms in order to maximise safety and guarantee peace of mind.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Legislation UK

By following the regulations to the letter, private landlords can rest safe in the knowledge that they will be providing properties which are safe for tenants. See the current Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations here

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