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In October 2015 new laws were brought in for Landlords regarding smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Following the very sad and preventable death of a two tenants of a possible unlicensed HMO property in London recently, we thought we would advise of the correct and legal requirements for landlords regarding smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

In general rental houses and flats with single family occupancy, landlords are required to have:-

  • 1 working smoke alarm/detector on each floor
  • 1 working carbon monoxide detector in any room with a solid fuel appliance (wood burners, Aga’s and open fires) that is used as a main living area, including bathrooms

In small HMO’s  of 1 or 2 storeys where 3 people not related share the same facilities:-

  • An appropriate mains powered connected smoke alarm system with  1 working carbon monoxide detector in any room with a solid fuel appliance (wood burners, Aga’s and open fires) that is used as a main living area, including bathrooms.

In Large HMO’s of 3 storeys or more than 5 people sharing facilities:-

  • Fire alarm system, with central control panel
  • 1 working carbon monoxide detector in any room with a solid fuel appliance (wood burners, Aga’s and open fires) that is used as a main living area, including bathrooms.

It is essential that at the start of every tenancy, the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are tested and the tenant is present at this test, it is best to get the tenants to sign a document stating these devices have been tested in their presence and they are happy that they are in full working order.. It is also a good idea to  have in this document that the tenants are responsible for testing and keeping clean these devices and reporting any issues to the landlord immediately.

Although it is not yet law to have a carbon monoxide detector in rooms with gas appliances, many landlords feel it is best practice to do so.

How would you feel if your tenants or their children lost their lives for the sake of saving just a few pounds on a detector, should you have an issue with a boiler or gas fire where carbon monoxide was present in the property.

Here is some further information for Landlords from the Government regarding smoke and carbon monoxide alarms