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Smoke Detector

  • The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 effective 1 October 2015 provide the rules.
  • Smoke detectors are sensible and cheap wake up alarms providing warning in the event of a fire.
  • Even where not legally required they should be considered on moral grounds e.g. a risk assessment in lofts reveal fires can start as lofts contain combustible insulation, electric cables and junction boxes and a massive water tank - combine electricity with water and fires are very possible.  Rodents can gnaw through loft electric cables causing short circuits - not all houses have trip fuses!
  • Residential landlords (live-in landlords) are not required to fit alarms if they share some part of the accommodation.
  • Situations where they are required can include Large HMOs -Mandatory Licensed properties - in every room - excluding non habitable rooms like toilets and cupboards.
  • Small HMOs Non-Licensable HMOs require smoke alarms originally under: The management of HMO regulations effective 6/6/2006 but more recently under The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
  • Where required smoke detectors might be required to be interlinked with battery back up - e.g. Licensable HMOs .
  • Smoke Alarms must be tested regularly to ensure they work.  Advise tenants to test weekly - include this as a contractual term.
  • Heat detectors can be used where smoke detectors are likely to cause nuisance resulting in sabotage.
  • Some batteries boast a 10 year lifespan (lithium batteries) and are thus trouble free for extended periods and so are most likely to work when required.
  • Smoke detector tests are a legal requirement at the start of each tenancy under the 2015 Act,
  • Smoke and CO detectors have a 'replace by' date e.g. 10 years.
  • Batteries should either be tested or replaced automatically before failing.
  • Battery backup is encouraged in the event of power failure.
  • On one occasion a small fire started in a kitchen hood melting the electric cables inside and short circuiting the wiring, tripping the fuse.  So only the battery part of the detector alarm was operating thereafter!

See also

Published: 29 September 2015 Last Updated: 1 December 2021