The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 will come into force on the 1st October 2022. Installation of smoke detectors have been a legal requirement in the private rented sector since 2015.
These amended regulations will apply to all homes rented by registered providers of social housing or private landlords, unless excluded, as detailed in the “Schedule to the Regulations”. The exclusions mentioned are tenancies, where it is shared accommodation with a landlord or the landlord’s family (the definition of “shared” is if they share an amenity such as a kitchen or living room); student halls of residence; hotels and refuges; long leases; care homes and other accommodation relating to health care provisions; hospitals and hospices and low cost ownership homes.
The regulations state there needs to be at least one smoke alarm installed on each floor of the house where there is a room used as living accommodation. A hall or landing; a bathroom or lavatory, are all classed as living accommodation and are specifically listed as rooms in the regulations. For the purposes of the regulations, it is suggested that in general, a room is classed as ‘living accommodation’ if it is used for the primary purpose of living, or is a room in which a person spends a significant amount of time.
Positioning of alarms are key to its effectiveness. During a fire, smoke rises and then expands horizontally. By placing the smoke alarm in the centre of your ceiling means that it is equidistant to all four sides of your room. For larger properties RF smoke alarms are available which means they form a group, where equipment has the ability to identify their counterpart’s signals. Therefore, if one of the alarms detects a problem it transmits a signal to the other alarms which then sounds an alarm. Smoke alarms should be compliant with British Standards BS 5839-6
Carbon Monoxide alarms are to be installed in all rooms that are wholly, or party used as living accommodations, and contains a fixed combustion appliance other than a gas cooker. According to the 2022 regulations, the original wording of “solid fuel burning combustion appliance” was substituted for “fixed combustion appliance other than a gas cooker”. Alarms are to be compliant with British Standards BS 50291 and positioned at head height, either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1-3 metres away from a potential source of carbon monoxide.
For both types of alarms, it is recommended that those with “sealed for life batteries” are used. This means that the lithium battery will last the full life of the smoke detector and no battery changing is necessary, which in turn means that no unauthorised removal of the battery or tampering is possible.
From the landlord or agent’s stance, there must be checks to ensure that all the alarms are working on the day the tenancy begins. It is suggested that these are tested with the tenant present, so that everyone can ‘sign-off’ that they have been tested. The tenant can shown how to change the battery should the need arise in the old style alarms that do not have the “sealed for life” batteries.
It is the landlord or agent’s responsibility to ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced, once informed by the tenant that they are faulty.
Landlords should also choose the best alarms for their properties and tenants, taking in consideration the residents’ personal circumstances if informed. There are for example, some specialist smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms that alert by vibration or flashing lights (as opposed to by sound alerts) may would be beneficial for tenants who are deaf or hard of hearing. As always landlords must consider their duties under the Equality Act 2010.
The amendments to the full regulations can be found by following this link
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2022.