New guidance for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

The government has published new guidance for landlords, agents, and tenants on the extended regulations on carbon monoxide and smoke alarms, which will come into force on 1 October 2022 in England.

In addition to the existing legislation whereby landlords must ensure at least one smoke alarm is installed on each storey where there’s a room used as living accommodation, from 1 October in England, landlords will also need to:

  1. Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room classed as “living accommodation” with a fixed combustion appliance, excluding gas cookers
  2. Repair or replace any faulty smoke or carbon monoxide alarms if a tenant informs the landlord or agent that there’s an issue

Who's responsible for testing the alarms?

Landlords and agents will need to ensure that the alarms are checked and are in full working order on the start date of a new tenancy.

Tenants are advised to replace batteries where necessary.  However, if the alarm still doesn’t work after doing so, they should let their landlord or agent know immediately.

Where should the alarms be located?

Alongside the rules on which rooms and stories require the alarms, as defined above, the guidance highlights that the regulations don’t state where the alarms should be installed. However, it outlines that, “in general”, smoke alarms should be “fixed to the ceiling in a circulation space”, such as halls or landings.

Similarly, it advises that carbon monoxide alarms should be “positioned at head height, either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1-3 metres away from a potential source of carbon monoxide”. 

What to do Next? We have asked the tenants…

We will continue to carry out routine inspections and will check for the necessary alarms.  However, we would be grateful if you could let us know as soon as possible if any of the following apply to the property you are renting, so that we can remedy this in readiness for October: –

  • There is no carbon monoxide alarm installed in any room with a fixed combustion appliance (an appliance designed to burn gas, oil or solid fuel such as wood or coal).  For example, gas or oil boiler, gas fire, woodburner, working fireplace.
  • The smoke alarms in the property you are renting have expired, are expiring shortly or are not working (once you have tried changing the batteries)

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