The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms: Top tips

One of the biggest challenges that the social housing sector is facing now is the number of legislative changes that the social housing providers need to adhere to.

Pursuant to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms (Amendment) Regulations 2022, both private and social rentals must have at least one working smoke alarm on each storey where there is a room used as living accommodation, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance: boilers, heaters, stoves etc.

The Landlord’s responsibility does not end at the installation stage. The responsibility for alarms is ongoing. Landlords must:

  • Ensure alarms are in proper working order when first installed
  • Ensure alarms are in proper working order when any new tenancy starts
  • Ensure alarms are repaired or replaced as soon as reasonably practicable, if tenant reports an issue, and replace the batteries if a tenant is unable to do so
  • Keep a record of when alarms are tested

To ensure alarms always remain in proper working order, tenants share some responsibility over the alarms. Tenants must:

  • Test the alarms regularly during their tenancy
  • Replace batteries if possible
  • Report any faults in the alarms

Landlords should consider providing tenants with a demonstration or instructions to support their understanding of how and how often to test their alarms and make sure they are in working order.

Failure to comply

Failure to comply with the Regulations may result in a ‘Remedial Notice’ being served by Local Authority, and a fine of up to £5,000. Fines are applied per breach, not per landlord or per property, so multiple breaches may result in a fine of more than £5,000. Landlords can appeal these fines and Local Authorities are subject to Judicial Review.

Access Issues

New requirements only add to the long list of access needs. Landlords should take all reasonable steps to comply:

  • Write to the tenant for access
  • Try to arrange a visit
  • Keep record of any written or oral requests
  • Try to understand why tenants might not allow access and work with them
  • Consider legal enforcement tools

Most importantly… Act now and remain proactive!


Law is correct as of 11th September 2022

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the law in this article is correct, it is intended to give a general overview of the law for educational purposes. You are respectfully reminded that it is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

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