Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms: A Short Guide

On 1st October 2022, The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities updated the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. As a result of this update, landlords must be compliant and aware of any actions they need to take.

What’s new?

Before this update, landlords had to fit a single smoke alarm on each storey and have a carbon monoxide alarm where there's a solid fuel appliance. Now, landlords have to comply with updated regulations that, if ignored, could result in them being fined up to £5,000.

The updated regulations state that a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted in any room with a fixed combustion appliance, such as a boiler. This doesn’t include gas cookers, although a responsible landlord may want to install a carbon monoxide alarm in a kitchen as a precaution.

A carbon monoxide alarm needs to be positioned at head height and placed on a wall or a shelf around 1-3 metres from the potential source of carbon monoxide.

If a landlord is made aware of a faulty smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, these must be repaired as soon as possible. A landlord’s attention may be drawn to such faults either by tenants or by an inventory clerk during an inspection, before, during and/or at the end of a tenancy.

Types of alarms

Alarms are typically either battery-powered or hard-wired. Therefore, landlords or agents acting on their behalf must conduct proper research before buying the most suitable alarms that suit the property in question.

For battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide alarms: ensure it has ‘sealed for life’ batteries instead of replaceable batteries, which may lose energy, causing the alarm to stop working. In addition, each smoke alarm must comply with British Standards BS 5839-6.

For carbon monoxide alarms, each alarm must be compliant with British Standards 50291.

What if a tenant or inventory clerk finds a fault?

It is the landlord’s responsibility to replace or repair any faulty alarms. The tenant is responsible for testing alarms throughout the tenancy and reporting any malfunctions to the landlord or letting agent. The regulations advise that tenants arrange for this if they notice alarms aren’t working. If an alarm isn’t working after the batteries have been replaced, the tenant must report this to the landlord.

If an inventory clerk is carrying out an inventory report, they are advised to check the expiry date of the alarm to ensure it's in date.

To learn more about what to consider when conducting inventories and how to simplify this process, find out more about our property inventory software and app.

Dan, 19 May 2023
Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms: A Short Guide

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