Changes to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in private residential lettings

On 1 October 2022, the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 will come into force.  From this date, all private rented properties in England must have a carbon monoxide alarm installed in rooms used as living accommodation where there are appliances such as gas heaters and boilers.  This legislation does not extend to gas cookers.  Previous legislation only covered solid fuel combustible appliances such as wood burners.

The amendments follow on from the publication of the Social Housing White Paper (commissioned in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire), which laid out proposals to improve standards in the social housing sector, including providing clear channels for tenants to raise concerns. The report also proposed that industry regulators be given stronger powers to take enforcement action.  

Do I need a carbon monoxide alarm if I do not have a gas supply to my rental property?  

If there is only an electrical supply to the rental property, a carbon monoxide alarm will not be mandatory for a landlord to install.  

Are there any other exemptions?

These regulations do not apply to landlords who occupy the rental property with their tenants and share facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms.

What type of Carbon monoxide alarms should landlords fit?

The new rules do not state the type of alarm so wired or battery-operated devices can be installed. 

How can I prove that I have complied with the new regulations?

Landlords should ensure that the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarms are noted on the check in report.  New batteries should be installed at the start of each tenancy and the alarms should be tested and noted as working in the check in report. 

What are the penalties for failing to comply?

A device must be repaired as soon as it is reported as faulty. 

The landlord could face a fine of up to £5000 for not installing a carbon monoxide alarm where required or breaching the regulations.

What the changes mean

This change will affect most landlords, so it is important to start installing carbon monoxide alarms as soon as possible and before 1 October 2022.

The extended regulations, mean that private renters will have, by law, the right to a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in their property.

The Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Eddie Hughes MP, said: “It is fundamentally right for people to feel safe in their own homes – an issue I’ve advocated for many years. Around 20 people are killed each year in accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and many more through house fires – but we know that simple interventions can stop these needless deaths. I’m proud that the new rules being proposed will ensure even more homes are fitted with life-saving alarms. Whether you own your home, are privately renting or in social housing – everyone deserves to feel safe and this is an incredibly important step in protecting those at risk.” 

How Moore Barlow can help

Gemma Richards is a solicitor in the firm’s dispute resolution department. She assist the property litigation team to resolve a wide range of property disputes, with a focus on residential landlord and tenant matters, adverse possession claims and boundary disputes.

Please contact the Property Disputes team if you need advice.