Laws for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

We’ve all heard the nightmare stories about Carbon Monoxide poisoning – people dying in their sleep without realising there’s been a leak. A deadly, highly poisonous gas, this can cause death as well as serious long-term health problems like brain damage. Assetgrove, rent guarantee specialists mentioned, landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties under measures announced by Housing Minster Brandon Lewis.

The measure will come into effect from October 2015 and is strongly supported by those in the industry after a consultation on property condition in the private rented sector. The move should prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year and is part of wider government moves to ensure that there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety.

England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected to support private landlords across the country so they can meet their responsibilities with the provision of free alarms along with grand funding from the government.

The government has made it clear it wants to avoid onerous regulation that would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants. Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said that in 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarm installed, but now it’s more than 90%. Landlords will be required to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms, like those where a solid fuel heating system is installed. Those who fail to do this, may face up to £5,000 civil penalty.

Brandon Lewis added that he’s aware that most landlords offer a good service, but that as it’s not obligatory to install smoke alarms, he’s changing the law to ensure that all tenants can have this important protection. Lewis also advised that tenants regularly test their alarms to make sure they work when and that it’s their responsibility to do this.


As well as this, other measures have been introduced to support the private rented sector, including investing £1bn into building new-builds especially for private rent. A ‘How to rent’ guide will also be published so tenants and landlords are aware of their rights and responsibilities. The aim is to create a bigger, better and safer private rented system and ensure the safety of tenants. People are four times more likely to die in a fire in a home if there’s no working smoke alarm, so the changes to the law would ensure that tenants could have piece of mind when seeking rental accommodation in the private sector.

A ‘Fire Kills’ campaign will be introduced to encourage people to test their smoke alarms when they change their clocks to British Summer Time – the ‘Tick Tock Test’ campaign is currently running on radio, online and in the press until 29 March.

Carbon monoxide symptoms are similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and fatigue. It’s common for people to mistake this poisoning for something else, which is why it’s so dangerous. For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning click here.

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