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A smoke detector fire alarmFrom the 1st October 2015 regulations require both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in rented residential accommodation. Changes are also made to the licence requirements in relation to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), such as shared houses and bedsits which require a licence and also in relation to properties which are subject to selective licensing. The Regulations apply both to houses and flats. Failure to comply can lead to a civil penalty being imposed of up to £5,000.

During any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 while the premises are occupied under a tenancy (or licence) the landlord must ensure that a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. A living room will include a lounge dining room and kitchen as well as a bathroom or toilet. It also includes a hall or landing. This means that a smoke alarm must be provided in working order on each storey. The RLA takes the view that mezzanines are caught by this legislation where they contain a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. As regards individual flats located on one floor then there will have to be at least one alarm within the flat itself or alternatively are provided outside the flat on the same floor of the building, i.e. a communal alarm.

Likewise, for flats comprising more than one storey there will need to be a smoke alarm on each floor.

It is the location of an alarm which sounds which is crucial; not the positioning of detectors.

The Regulations do not stipulate what kind of alarm is required. Ideally it should be a hard wired alarm system. It can, however, be a single standalone alarm. Landlords are recommended by the RLA to fit ten year long life tamper proof alarms, otherwise there is a problem of batteries being taken out and not being replaced.

As a final note, heat detectors are not considered sufficient. It will have to be a smoke detector.