As a Landlord, you have a long list of things you need to do. How high on that list is keeping your tenants safe from Fire and Carbon Monoxide?
In England and Scotland Landlords must fit Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms in their tenanted properties by law and in Wales & Northern Ireland Landlords have a Duty of Care to people living in their properties. Ignore this and you could get a fine, sent to prison and even worse have the death of a person on your conscience.
The fact that smoke and CO alarms are life saving devices has been recognised over the last few years with new laws coming into force. Whilst these laws do ensure all tenants have some form of fire and CO detection within their homes, these laws fall short of the protection recommended in British Standard BS 5839-6:2019 and the UK Building Regulations.
Landlord Best Practice
To ensure your tenants are safe from fire and Carbon Monoxide (CO) we recommend that you fit your alarms to the British Standards:
For Smoke and Heat Alarms follow – British Standard – BS 5839-6:2019
Grade D1 – mains powered alarms with built-in battery back-up Category LD2 – alarms installed throughout the hallways, landings and high risk rooms (living room and kitchen). A heat alarm should be installed in the kitchen with optical smoke alarms being used in other locations.
For Carbon Monoxide Alarms follow – British Standard – BS EN 50292:2019
The standard states that a CO alarm should be fitted in:
- Rooms that contain any fuel burning appliances – such as an open fire, gas cooker or boiler
- Rooms where people spend the most time – such as a living room
- Rooms where people sleep
- Any room that has a flue running through it
For full details on the Standards please visit Smoke Alarms – BS 5839-6:2019 or Carbon Monoxide Alarms – BS EN 50292:2019. There is also further information if you are unsure where you site your alarms or what sensor types to use.
England – the law
As of the 1st October 2015 all private tenanted properties must have:
- Working smoke alarms installed on every level of the property
- A working Carbon Monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance – such as a open fire or wood burner
Additionally, the Q&A document that accompanied this law also stated that the Government ‘expect and encourage reputable landlords to cover all gas appliances’.
Scotland – the law
As part of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 a landlord must have satisfactory provision for detecting fires. The statutory guidance states that:
- Smoke alarms should be installed in rooms frequently used by occupants for general daytime living, such as a living room
- At least one smoke alarm should be installed on each storey
- There should be a smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as a hallways and landings
- Additionally a heat alarm should be installed in every kitchen
- All alarms should be interconnected
- You can install tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms or mains-wired alarms.
From the 1st December 2015 all private tenanted property must also have working Carbon Monoxide alarms installed in every room or interconnected space where there is a fixed combustion appliance (excluding an appliance used solely for cooking). This includes gas boilers, gas cookers, oil boilers, wood burners etc.
Northern Ireland & Wales – the law
There is no specific law for private landlords to install smoke or CO alarms in Northern Ireland and Wales, but if you are building, extending or renovating then Fire Building Regulations & Carbon Monoxide Building Regulations will require you to fit smoke and CO alarms. It is also believed that these countries will follow the lead of Scotland and England before too long.
In Wales you must fit a CO alarm when installing a new or replacing an old solid fuel burning appliance (solid fuel is coal or wood). In Northern Ireland you must fit a CO alarm when installing a new or replacing an old appliance that burns any type of fuel (gas, oil, wood or coal), except for a cooker.