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Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms - New Regulations

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms - New Regulations

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms - New Regulations

Landlords in England have been required since October 1, 2015, to: 

Make sure that all of their rented residences are equipped with smoke alarms, and ensure that carbon monoxide detectors are installed in each room that has a solid-fuel heating source. Any open fireplace that is usable, that is, not blocked off, falls under this category.

The law will be updated on October 1, 2022, increasing the number of rooms that must have a carbon monoxide alarm. The rules are included in HMO licenses and apply to both homes and apartments as well as HMOs. A civil fine of up to £5,000 may be imposed for noncompliance.

At the moment, these rules only apply in England. However, once the Renting Homes Wales Act goes into effect, comparable requirements will be implemented in Wales. Landlords can find instructions on how to abide by this law and make sure that rental properties are secure on the page that follows.

The amended regulations mandate that, starting on October 1, 2022, landlords investigate and repair or replace a malfunctioning smoke or CO alarm as soon as is practical. Currently, landlords are only required to check that the alarms are operational at the beginning of a new tenancy.

There is no reason why the tenant cannot be required to check the alarms are functioning, and government advice does recommend the tenant check once a month. The landlord, however, will then need to ensure that the tenant actually performs the checks. If challenged, a landlord might need to provide evidence that a suitable system for routinely checking alarms has been put in place.

The tenant's immediate landlord is subject to the requirements. It includes any tenancies that were obtained through subletting as well. Additionally, because this is now a requirement for licencing, the licence holder is responsible for making sure that the alarms are installed and operational at the beginning of the tenancy if the property needs a mandatory, additional, or selective licence.

Nearly all residential properties in the private rented sector are subject to these obligations. Tenancies in buildings with mixed uses, like a flat above a store, are also included.

There are a number of exceptions:

         A rental agreement where the tenant and the landlord or a family member of the landlord live together in the same space. An amenity that includes a bathroom, showers for individual use, a kitchen, or a living room must be shared, but storage or access must not be mentioned.

         A long-term lease for a tenancy

         Residence for students


         Health care facilities

         Accommodations for the delivery of healthcare

Enforcement is the responsibility of the local government.

If a local authority has cause to believe that a landlord is in violation of any of these obligations regarding smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms, they must issue a remedial notice within 21 days. A remedial notice must state the course of action that must be taken within 28 days of the date it was served.

The landlord has 28 days to respond to the remedial notice if they want to address concerns with the local authority. The notice is then put on hold while the local authority considers its decision and notifies the landlords of the outcome.


No later than 35 days after the initial notice is given, the landlord must receive the review's findings in writing. The notice is deemed to be withdrawn if the local authority fails to take this action. Landlords will have 21 days to respond to the contents of the notice and correct the problems if the notice is confirmed following review. If a landlord can demonstrate that he has taken reasonable steps to comply with the duty, there is an excuse for non-compliance with the notice; however, the landlord is not required to file a lawsuit. This may apply in cases where a tenant refuses to allow access so that work can be done.

The landlord has the right to appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal if the local authority upholds a penalty charge notice. The reasons for the appeal are:

         A factual or legal error was made by the local authority.

         The penalty charge amount is excessive.

         For any other reason, the decision to impose a penalty is unreasonable.

         In the event of an appeal, payment of the fine is put on hold.

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