CO Advice, Social Housing

Are social landlords responsible for carbon monoxide detectors in the UK?

Following The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 consultation, the Government has outlined key changes social landlords will have to follow.

From October 1st 2022, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will be compulsory in social housing properties where there is any type of fixed combustion appliance.

Around 200,000 social households are currently without a working smoke alarm in the UK and more than 2.3 million are without a working carbon monoxide alarm.

The social housing whitepaper, published November 2020, pledged to launch a consultation on extending requirements for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for the rented sector, with scope to introduce new requirements in social housing.

After the two-month consultation which ended in January 2021, the Government announced later that year its response to the use of smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in domestic properties.

Are carbon monoxide detectors required by law in England for socially rented properties?

Are landlords responsible for carbon monoxide detectors in the UK?

The consultation has outlined updates to be made from beginning of October 2022 to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 to provide greater protection for social housing residents.

Social landlords will be obliged by law to ensure:

  • at least one smoke alarm is installed on each storey of residents’ homes
  • a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room in residents’ homes with a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers)
  • in any home, when a new fixed combustion appliance is installed, a carbon monoxide alarm will be required (excluding gas cookers)

Under the revised regulations, social landlords will also be legally obliged to repair or replace alarms once informed by tenants that they are faulty. However, testing of alarms will remain the resident’s responsibility.

The smoke and CO alarms must comply with EN 14604 (Smoke) and EN 50291‑1 (CO) and carry a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark.

Jim Bywater, National Fire Chiefs Council, Domestic Detection Lead, said the NFCC “welcomes the changes”, believing it will make many more people safer in their homes.

“We have campaigned for regulations to ensure that regardless of tenure, homes have adequate lifesaving detection,” Jim said. “The new regulations will contribute to reducing fire and carbon monoxide casualties and fatalities and bring consistency and greater protection to those living in both private and social rented homes.”

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.

Northern Ireland
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.

Why are properties with gas cookers not covered under the extended Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations?

Are landlords responsible for carbon monoxide detectors in the UK?

Statutory guidance (Approved Document J) will be amended to support Part J of the Building Regulations to require that carbon monoxide alarms are fitted alongside the installation of fixed combustion appliances of any fuel type – but it excludes gas cookers.

When asked why gas cookers were not included in the extended regulations, Christopher Pincher, Treasurer of HM Household, said: “The Government takes the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning very seriously. Consideration was given to including gas cookers.

“The evidence available at the time showed that gas cookers are responsible for fewer incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning than gas boilers and that inclusion would be disproportionate.”

Do smoke alarms in properties have to be interlinked?

Are landlords responsible for carbon monoxide detectors in the UK?

Although interlinked smoke alarms are not required as part of the regulation updates, 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.

The Scottish Tolerable Act made it mandatory this year for all properties to have interlinked alarms in Scotland. The Home Office’s Fire and Rescue Incident Statistics show that in 2019 – 2020, there were over 25,000 accidental dwelling fires, with around a quarter in purpose-built flats. In the same year, fire and rescue services attended 775 fires in purpose-built flats.

The data also highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms in place and enough to cover all areas in a property, with 26% of fatalities from dwelling fires occurring where a smoke alarm was not installed.

Set the standard for fire and CO protection

Are landlords responsible for carbon monoxide detectors in the UK?

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. The range also includes a battery-powered carbon monoxide alarm with advanced sensing technology and a 10 year sealed for life lithium battery.

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, or get in touch with your local Specification Manager to find out further details.


*Please note: The above summary is based on FireAngel’s interpretation of the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022, always refer to the standard for specific guidance