Rental Properties: The Importance of Smoke Alarms

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are vital pieces of equipment in all domestic buildings, yet some landlords and property managers throughout the country still neglect these basic safety requirements. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations in England state private sector landlords must:
• Have at least one smoke alarm on every storey of the premises
• Have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room in which solid fuel is used, such as an open fire or log burner
• The alarms must be tested by the landlord at the start of each tenancy

The Facts

The UK Fire and Rescue Service are called to more than 140 house fires a day, which adds up to 50,000 fires every year. From these instances, there are around 500 deaths and over 11,000 serious injuries. The Fire Service states that you are twice as likely to die in a house fire that has no smoke alarm.

Carbon monoxide poisoning in the home is just as serious and damaging, with around 50 deaths a year and up to 4000 serious medical visits due to serious illness and long-term health risks. It’s an invisible, odourless gas, which means that a carbon monoxide alarm is absolutely essential for any living accommodation that burns fossil fuels (gas, wood, coal and oil).

How You Can Do Your Part

Landlords and Letting Agents


Test all alarms at the start of each new contract and keep a record of the date checked, making sure to take detailed inventory notes. You should also have a diagram of the alarm locations to refer to. Firms like https://inventorybase.co.uk/ have innovative property inventory software for keeping track of all your inventory notes and check dates. During a tenancy, it is the responsibility of your tenants to regularly check the alarm, so make sure to advise them to test on a weekly basis; you will also need to regularly check and keep records.

Tenants

Before moving in to a property, make sure the landlord has installed alarms. If they haven’t, ask them why. Make sure that alarms have been installed before you move in and check them yourself. Throughout your tenancy, it is your responsibility to test your alarms once a week and contact your landlord straight away if you find a fault. Your landlord should test your alarms every six to 12 months.

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