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Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 - 09/01/2016

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Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

Concern and confusion related to recent legislation related to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

With effect from 1 October 2015, landlords must provide the following alarms for all new tenancies:

  • A smoke alarm for each story where there is at least one room used wholly or partially as accommodation(including bathroom and lavatories)
  • A carbon monoxide alarm in every room used wholly or partially as accommodation (including bathrooms and lavatories) and which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.

The landlord (or representative) must ensure that the alarms are in proper working order on the day the tenancy starts.

Landlords must be able to prove they took all reasonable steps to comply and the local authority can issue a remedial action notice.  There is a penalty of up to £5000 for non-compliance.

Since June 1992 all new homes must be fitted with mains operated smoke detectors on every floor and which must be interlinked: this includes any properties that have been converted or refurbished in line with the Building Regulations 1991.

Further details of this legislation can be found here.

The two issues of confusion are:

  • What is the definition of "solid fuel burning combustion appliances"?  The answer is that these include working fireplaces, wood burning stoves etc but crucially do not include gas or oil appliances including boilers .  There is a huge misconception that these are included in this legislation.  They are not. Though best practice and very strongly recommended, a landlord does not need to provide carbon monoxide alarms to cover gas appliances under this legislation.
  • What constitutes proper testing of an alarm?  A green power light visible on an alarm shows that the alarm has power but does it actually work?  The alarm sounding as a result of a press test (pressing the test button) shows the alarm works when pressed but will it detect smoke or carbon monoxide and if it does will it work?

In consultation with our clients, Live Oak will undertake to press test alarms in the first instance where practicable.  Failing this the report will note the prescience of power lights if relevant or will clearly stated if the alarm has not been tested at all.  A summery of the alarm locations, type and degree of testing (or not) will be noted on page 3 of our reports.





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