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Carbon monoxide alarm regulations to be beefed up

There may be new and stricter legal requirements on the way for private landlords with regards to carbon monoxide alarm installation according to a consultation document issued by the government.

The suggestion is that landlords not only fit an alarm into any room that has a fixed combustion appliance, such as a gas boiler or wood burner, but also ensure it is in proper working order on the first day of every new tenancy, and repair or replace alarms reported as having problems during the tenancy. 

For just over five years it’s been compulsory for landlords in England are already required to have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a coal fire or wood burning stove.


Until now the government has encouraged landlords to fit them in all rooms with gas appliances too.

Much of the new consultation document is aimed at the social renting sector - considered behind the private rental sector in this regard - but the document gives some useful background information.

For example, during a review of the existing legislation - the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 - it’s been revealed that of those who had a smoke alarm installed at the time of a fire, around half (49 per cent) of households reported that the alarm did not go off at the time of the incident. 

Of these, just under a quarter report that the fire was too far away from the smoke alarm. 

One element of the new proposals says: “We are proposing that both private and social sector landlords be obliged to repair or replace a faulty alarm during the tenancy, where a fault is reported to them. Whilst we are not proposing proactive checking of alarms during the tenancy by the landlord, we do think it is right that landlords should replace faulty alarms, particularly in the social rented sector where tenancies run for an average of 12 years whilst a smoke alarm has an average lifespan of 10 years.”



Elsewhere in the document it says: “We plan to commence requirements as soon as practicable following the laying of regulations. Delaying implementation could put lives at risk. However, a phased implementation could help landlords manage the additional costs by, for example, installing an alarm when they next visit the property, during a tenancy or gas safety check, rather than having to make an extra visit. As part of this consultation, we are seeking evidence of the necessity of a phased implementation approach.”

You can respond to the consultation at any time up to January 11, and you can see the document here.

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  • George Dawes

    Just put the boiler outside , sorted

  • Bill Wood

    I always check the smoke and CO2 alarms annually, whilst the heating engineer is servicing the boiler. About a quarter of the conventional smoke alarms are either missing the battery or missing entirely. Those that are missing entirely get replaced with the 'sealed for life' type.

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    • 23 November 2020 09:30 AM

    If the alarm has been taken by tenants, or no batteries, I charge them for a new one and for new batteries. Plus of course my 15% add on for administration fees.

    My letting agent always checks them at each 6th month visit too, and advises me.

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    I put a sealed smoke detector on each floor as tenants can't take batteries then and a CM detector by boiler and by gas hob. These are checked every year by gas engineer.

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    I always ask the Inventory Clerk to check smoke and CO alarms when compiling the check in inventory and put their details and result on the Check In Inventory. I also make the tenant sign to say they will be responsible for checking them on a monthly basis.

  • Matthew Payne

    Buy modern flats with no gas is the most cost effective. Insulation keeps them warm without heating for 10 months a year, low cost for tenants to run, no gas certs, no boiler to service, fix or replace, no CO detectors required.

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    Very good Insulate everything up, seal everything tight don't let anything escape, only problem we need air to live no wonder we catch everything cooked up like battery chickens. I wonder how our ancestors lived for thousands of years without a bit of polyurethane foam or rock-wool.


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