When it comes to managing a rental property, ensuring the safety of tenants is a major responsibility of a landlord. To help with this, landlords should thoroughly familiarise themselves with the legal requirements and regulations in relation to carbon monoxide and smoke alarm detectors.
Here is a simple guide, which is based on the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 :
Smoke alarm detectors
A minimum of one smoke alarm per floor needs to be fitted in a landlord’s rental properties.
On the first day of each new tenancy, a landlord must check that all installed alarms are working properly. The first day of the tenancy is the date stipulated in the tenancy agreement, even if the tenant moves into the property on a later date. On the day the tenant signs the tenancy agreement, the tenant needs to agree that all alarms are in working order. A fine of up to £5,000 can be imposed if a landlord fails to comply with this legal requirement. Our Landlord’s Compliance Checklist is a signable tick sheet that helps landlords stay compliant with legal requirements such as this. You can download it and subscribe to our newsletter here.
To ensure safety, tenants should test all alarms regularly throughout the tenancy. It is best to test these on a monthly basis. If tenants discover that their alarm(s) are not functioning during the tenancy, they should liaise with their landlord on replacing the batteries.
Carbon monoxide alarms
Carbon monoxide alarms need to be fitted (and tested as above) if there are any wood or coal burning appliances in the property, for example, an open fire or wood burner. The alarm needs to be fitted in the room where the appliance/fireplace is located.
Alarms are not needed for gas or electric fires as they are covered by the annual gas safety certificate and electrical inspections respectively. However, gas appliances can also emit carbon monoxide, so according to gov.uk: ‘we would expect and encourage reputable landlords to ensure that working carbon monoxide alarms are installed in rooms with these.’ Again, this might not be part of the regulations, but to minimise risks, an alarm near the gas appliance would help to ensure safety.
Where to place the alarms
It is not stipulated in the regulations exactly where the alarms must be placed. However, as a general guide, smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling in a circulation space, for example a hall or a landing. Carbon monoxide alarms should be placed at head height, either on a wall or a shelf, approximately 1 to 3 metres away from the source of carbon monoxide.
For further information on installation, it is best to consult local fire and rescue authority or download fire safety information from www.gov.uk/fireskills.
KeyRing Lettings is a ‘not for profit’ agency, providing a comprehensive letting and management service for landlords and tenants in Mendip. Under our fully managed service, we will keep you up to date on all new legislation and legal requirements to ensure you’re fully compliant. If you’re thinking of letting your property and don’t know where to start, contact us today.