What is the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015?
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations came into force in 2015 in a bid to bolster fire safety in homes across England, and understandably so. Over 200 people die yearly in domestic fires, and those living without fire alarms are four times more likely to die at home.
It is therefore vital that private landlords abide by the 2015 fire safety (England) legislation, which requires there to be least one smoke detector on every storey of their rental property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance (for instance, a coal fire or wood burning stove).
Failing to abide by this is not only dangerous to human life, but is prosecutable of a £5,000 fine.
In support of our Landlord Legislation 'Step Up' Resource, here is a short overview of the 2015 Private Landlord Legislation in England, what it means, and top FireAngel recommendations concerning it.
Who is responsible?
According to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations, private landlords in England must install alarms in all of their properties and test them at the beginning of every new tenancy. However, once the tenant has moved in – or their tenancy agreement has begun – the responsibility falls to them. Tenants should check, test and clean their alarms regularly and notify their landlord if an alarm stops working. There needs to be a good level of communication at all times.
Fire Safety Legislation
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations are not the only legislation landlords need to abide by. Legislation is dependent on country, and property and rental type, so the fire safety requirements may change or have amendments and additions to consider. As such, landlords should consult fire safety requirements found under other legislations including Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005. You can learn more about the Regulatory Reform Order by reading through our interview with Ceri Flavell, Watch Manager in the Protection (Fire Safety) Department of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, which can be found here.
Landlords also have a range of other legal requirement outlined in BS 5839: pt 6 , which standardises best practice for compliance with fire safety legislation in domestic properties. Most notably, there are discrepancies between countries when it comes to the category of system to be installed. This is as, although building regulations in England and Wales specify a Category LD3 system as the basic requirement in domestic new builds, this only offers a minimum level of protection in circulation spaces. It is therefore best practice to install to Category LD2, as required in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
To learn more about BS 5839 please see our recommended grade and category of system to install in rental accommodation page. Or for specifics on the 2015 Private Landlord Legislation see:
Type of alarms to install
There are a few different types of alarms available, including: carbon monoxide alarms which detect whether there is a potential risk of CO poisoning; smoke alarms that can sense both fast flaming and slow smouldering fires; and heat alarms which can identify rising high temperatures.
For a concise guide on choosing and installing alarms, we’d recommend downloading our Private Landlord Legislation eBook or reading our blog post on the different types of fire alarms and where to install them.
Smoke Alarms Placement
2015 Legislation dictates that a minimum of one smoke alarm be installed in circulation space per floor in a premises.
Smoke alarms are appropriate for fitting in hallways, landing, bedroom, living room or any other communal areas.
Recommended product: Thermoptek Multi-Sensor Smoke Alarm - used by over 90% of the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services due to its thermally enhanced optical sensors.
Installing Carbon Monoxide Alarms
CO regulations state that a carbon monoxide alarm be installed in any room containing a solid fuel-burning appliance, fires and boilers or in rooms that are susceptible to leaks from fuel and chimneys. These include the kitchen, living room and boiler room.
Recommended product: CO-9X-10 carbon monoxide alarm with LED display.
If you are a private landlord or a social landlord and wish to find out more about carbon monoxide regulations in the UK - see our blog post
Positioning Heat Alarms
Heat alarms are usually installed in rooms with high levels of fumes or smoke from cooking (that may otherwise lead to false alarms) or rooms with a lot of dust. These primarily include kitchens, garages and lofts.
Recommended product: HT-630 Thermistek heat alarm - this utilises advanced heat sensing technology to provide a faster reaction to potential danger.
FireAngel top recommendations
It is a landlord’s moral and legal responsibility to ensure that all tenants are safe and well protected. While alarms need only be checked at the beginning of a tenancy, we advise that landlords communicate fire safety tips with their tenants, conduct risk assessments and hold walkthroughs for fire escape routes.
Landlords can communicate safety tips through conversations, Safe and Well visits, printed handouts or handbooks left in the property alongside the inventory.
Landlords should advise their tenants to test their alarms weekly and to clean the fire alarms every three months with a soft, fitted brush attached to a hoover. Learn more about effectively sharing fire safety information here.
Our free kitchen fire safety eBook is ideal for sharing with tenants and makes for a straightforward and informative guide for both landlords and tenants.