Q. I am preparing a new property to let and I understand that I need to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. What type of alarms are required and where should they be located?
A. The regulations are not specific about the type of alarm. The government guidance says that landlords should choose alarms based on the needs of the building and the tenants. Smoke alarms should be compliant with British Standards BS 5839-6, and carbon monoxide alarms should be compliant with British Standards BS 50291.
Where battery-powered alarms are used, alarms with ‘sealed for life’ batteries rather than alarms with replaceable batteries are recommended.
Note that the rules on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are changing with effect from 1 October 2022 (so you should comply with them now as there will be no transition period). So, you should:
• Ensure at least one smoke alarm on each storey of the property where there is a room used as living accommodation. This has been a legal requirement in the private rented sector since 2015.
• Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation, which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).
• Ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once informed and found that they are faulty.
So far as locating the alarms is concerned, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. However, normally smoke alarms should be fixed to the ceiling and carbon monoxide alarms should be at head height, either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1-3 metres away from a potential source of carbon monoxide.
New guidance has now been published by the government https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-explanatory-booklet-for-landlords
If your property is in Wales, note that similar rules will be coming into force on 1 December 2022 when the new Welsh legislation comes into force.
Q. When doing an inspection recently we found that several of the smoke alarms no longer function. Who is responsible for dealing with this?