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Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm changes start in seven weeks time

Yet another revision to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations takes effect from October 1 - that’s just under seven weeks from now.

A reminder to the industry from online platform Lettingaproperty says that regulations have been in place since 2015 but from 1 October 2022, all tenancies in England - including unlicensed HMOs but excepting accommodation such as student halls, hotels and care homes - will need to comply with the amended regulations.

The regulations require at least one smoke alarm on each storey of the home that has a room used as living accommodation. This requirement isn’t new for private landlords or their agents, but will now apply to social landlords too. 


Landlords or their agents must also ensure there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a fixed combustion appliance (such as log-burning stoves or gas or oil boilers but excluding gas cookers) and which is used as living accommodation.

A significant change for the private rental sector is that landlords or their agents will be responsible for repairing or replacing any smoke and carbon monoxide alarms once they are informed by their tenant. Before the amended regulations, landlords or agents are currently responsible for installing and testing the alarm at the start of the tenancy – but it is the tenant's default responsibility to repair or replace it during the tenancy.

 All alarms must comply with British Standards BS 5839-6 for smoke alarms, and British Standards BS 50291 for carbon monoxide alarms. 

Lettingaproperty says the government has advised that for battery-powered alarms, tenants should replace the batteries themselves. If the alarm still doesn't work, or the tenant is unable to replace the batteries, they should report it to the landlord or agent.

Landlords or agents must continue to ensure that alarms are in proper working order on the day that a tenancy commences and must keep a record of this. Any breach may make the landlord or agent be liable for remedial notices and ultimately a fine of up to £5,000.

Jonathan Daines, chief executive of Lettingaproperty, says: “Landlords should be aware of their changing responsibilities come October 1st. While the majority of landlords will already have compliant smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, they may not realise the additional requirement to repair and replace these during the tenancy. These changes may seem small versus other legislation in the pipeline, but it's more important than ever for landlords to be clued-up on all their legal obligations.”


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