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Smoke alarms alert - are landlords keeping up with the law?

Over two million homes in England - that’s almost one in 10 - do not have a working smoke alarm according to a survey covering all tenures of property.

And only a quarter of landlords and owner occupiers with an alarm test it every month.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015, said that private sector landlords are required from 1 October 2015 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and carbon monoxide alarms in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance. The landlord must also make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.


The Local Government Association, which represents councils and fire authorities in England, says autumn poses a potentially greater fire risk as this is when people typically start to use heaters and open fires, and cook hot food, which is likely to be in greater numbers with more people working from home due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Latest government figures for 2018/19 show that nine per cent of households in England – the equivalent of 2.17m - do not have a working smoke alarm and only 26 per cent of people who own an alarm test it at least once a month.

This is despite experts calculating that people are around eight times more likely to die in a fire in a home with no working smoke alarm.

The LGA says it wants to work with government ahead of an expected spending review to ensure fire and rescue services have enough funding to help improve prevention work, which will help to increase the rate of working smoke alarms.



An LGA spokesman says: “By not having a working smoke alarm, the lives of more than two million households are at increased risk. Smoke alarms are proven life-savers and can make the single vital difference between surviving and dying in a fire.

“Extra funding to help with the increase in prevention work will help firefighters increase the rate of working smoke alarms.”

You can find more details of smoke alarm requirements for private landlords here.

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Poll: Are you confident that you know the appropriate smoke alarm laws?


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    Are owner occupied properties less dangerous than rented properties - or are tenants more dangerous occupiers than home owners?

    If the answers are both NO, why force landlords to incur this expense?

    If the answers are YES, then surely it would be fairer to charge all new tenants a one off fee to cover the cost of such alarms instead of landlords having to recoup this expense from increased rents which unfairly affect the more responsible and longer term tenants?


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