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Amendments to

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations and Approved Document J

On the 23rd November 2021 the government published the results of a consultation proposing an extension to regulations for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms, applicable to all rented properties within England.

What did the consultation propose?

The consultation proposed to amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 and Approved Document J, with the aim of extending the existing private rented legislation to socially rented properties; it also considered the important question of whether the existing legislation was sufficient.

In addition, the legislation looked to remove the word ‘solid’ from the requirements for CO alarm installation. The change would also be included in the building regulations (Approved Document J).

These regulatory updates are the first part of several reforms outlined in the social housing white paper.


Requirements for Carbon Monoxide Alarms

There are several amendments to the requirements for CO alarms to bring greater protection to residents.

  • All private and social landlords must install a CO alarm in any room of a property that contains a fuel burning appliance, such as gas boilers, fuel burning stoves, oil burners, biofuels, coal boilers/stoves, wood pellets etc. Cookers are excluded from this requirement.
  • Although cookers are excluded from this legislation, the use of CO alarms in rooms with fuel burning cookers is still recommended within the British Standard, BS EN 50292, but there is no associated legal obligation.
  • All new build and materially altered properties in England have a CO alarm installed wherever a fuel burning appliance is present (excluding cookers), as per the Building Regulations, Approved Document J.
  • Any CO alarm installed must comply with BS EN 50291-1.
  • Landlords are able to use either battery or mains-powered alarms within their properties in order to meet the requirements.
  • There is  no requirement for CO alarms to be interconnected with a property’s existing Smoke alarms, although this remains an option if the landlord of the property wishes to do so.


Requirements for Smoke Alarms

  • Social landlords will now be required to install at least one Smoke alarm on each storey of their properties, where there is a room used for living accommodation.
  • Any smoke alarms installed must comply with BS EN 14604.

Testing and Maintenance

  • All landlords will also be required to repair or replace alarms once notified of a fault.
  • All landlords must ensure that every alarm in the property is working correctly at the beginning of each new tenancy.
  • Regular alarm testing will remain the residents’ responsibility.

There is not yet a confirmed date when this new legislation will come into force in England, but it is expected to be around late 2022. It could, however, be earlier or later, so the most appropriate advice is for landlords to install the alarms at the earliest opportunity, as it is expected that there will be no grace period for compliance.


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