CO Advice, Fire Safety
From October 1st, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will be compulsory in private rented properties in England.
Since the introduction of the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, the number of working smoke alarms in the private rented sector has increased from 83% to 88%.
Although it’s good progress, in 2021 the Government held a consultation to decide whether the regulation needed extending for both smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in rental properties.
The results of the two-month consultation will bring forward changes to require both smoke and CO alarms to be fitted in many more homes in England.
Before the consultation, under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, private landlords only needed to install a CO alarm in properties where a solid fuel burning appliance was fitted.
Under the extended regulations, from the beginning of October 2022 a carbon monoxide alarm will be now required in all rooms where there is a fixed combustion appliance – such as gas boilers or gas fires. However, gas cookers are excluded from the updated regulation. When any additional appliances are installed in your rental property, a new carbon monoxide alarm will also be required to be fitted.
As the landlord, under the regulations you will be responsible for the cost of installing and maintaining these alarms. However, the responsibility to regularly test alarms will continue to lie with the tenant.
Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odourless, colourless gas produced when fuel doesn’t burn properly. Exposure to high levels of CO can be fatal while prolonged exposure to lower levels of CO can still cause serious health problems. The only way to detect carbon monoxide is with an audible CO alarm.
Gas boilers can produce carbon monoxide naturally and are designed to carry out the toxic gas out of your house via a flue. However, if your boiler has not been fitted properly or your flue is blocked, carbon monoxide will escape into your home. That’s why having an audible CO alarm close to a gas boiler is vital.
As a private landlord in England, under the extended regulations to achieve compliance you will need to ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in each property where there are any fixed combustion appliances in place.
Also, under the new regulations, if your tenant advises you of a fault or damage with their alarm, as their landlord you will be obliged to repair or replace the alarm.
CO alarms must be placed 1-3 metres away from any fuel-burning appliance. If a tenant find their CO alarm is sounding, best practice is to advise them to open any doors or windows and if possible, turn off gas appliances. They should then leave the property and call the gas safe emergency helpline (0800 111 999) for further assistance.
The regulations for other nations are below:
Since February 1st, 2022, all Scottish homes are required to have a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms where there is a fixed combustion appliance (excluding an appliance used solely for cooking) or a flue. In rented properties, landlords are responsible for supplying the alarm. Carbon monoxide alarms must meet the relevant British Standards (EN 50291-1), and must have ‘a sealed battery for the duration of its lifespan’ to prevent tampering or the need for battery changes.
The Welsh Government recently announced that it will bring forward changes from December 2022 1st (delayed from July 15th, 2022) with the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, which under the regulations for Fitness for human habitation (FFHH) will require landlords to ensure working carbon monoxide detectors are fitted in their properties where there is any gas appliance, an oil-fired combustion appliance or a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
Carbon monoxide alarms are a mandatory requirement for all homes where a new fossil fuel appliance is installed in Northern Ireland, after a change to The Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 came into operation on 31 October 2012. The Private Tenancies Act, which requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in privately rented homes and places a duty on landlords to repair them, received Royal Assent on 27 April 2022.
All landlords must follow domestic fire alarm regulations as part of BS 5839-6:2019. This recommends installing interlinked smoke, CO and heat alarms in a property for a rapid response.
Updates to fire safety legislation in Scotland, recently made it mandatory for all properties – owned, privately rented and socially rented – to have interlinked alarms. This is due to the increased protection interlinked devices can offer.
FireAngel Specification includes a mains‑powered multi‑sensor smoke alarm and enhanced heat alarm, which comply to a Grade D1 category and contain a 10 year Lithium battery back-up.
Complying to a Grade F1 category, the battery‑powered multi‑sensor smoke alarm and enhanced heat alarm feature a 10 year sealed for life lithium battery. Fitting a battery-powered carbon monoxide alarm with advanced sensing technology and a 10 year sealed for life lithium battery will also increase protection for your tenants.
By adding FireAngel’s Smart RF Radio Module into each device, either upon initial installation or at a later date, every alarm can be wirelessly interlinked onto a private network. This provides faster alerts within a property, as when one alarm sounds, they all sound.
Discover more on how to achieve compliance with the updated Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 and Approved Document J with FireAngel Specification.