The government's Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 mean landlords have a duty to ensure rented premises have:
- a smoke alarm fitted on each storey of the property where a room is used wholly or partly as living accommodation
- a carbon monoxide alarm/detector is fitted in any room used wholly or partly as living accommodation which contains a solid fuel burning appliance (coal fire, wood burner, wood burning aga, etc.)
- been checked to ensure that each 'required alarm' is working on the day a new tenancy begins
Section 150 (2) of the Energy Act 2013 defines ‘required alarm’ as a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm.
Regulation 3 (1) defines the ‘relevant landlord’ with these duties as 'the immediate landlord in respect of a specified tenancy' and excludes registered providers of social housing.
Placement of carbon monoxide detectors
Proper placement of carbon monoxide detectors is important.
As a minimum, you need to provide 1 detector per floor. The detector should be close to the bedrooms so that it's audible and capable of waking a sleeping person.
The ideal position to place a detector is 1.6m above floor level, or on the ceiling. In rooms with sloped ceilings, the detector should be located at the high side of the room.
Carbon monoxide detectors should not be installed in the following areas:
- outside the building
- in or below a cupboard
- in a damp or humid area
- directly above a sink or cooker
- next to a door or window or anywhere that would be affected by draughts
- where the air flow to the detector would be obstructed by curtains or furniture
- in an area where the temperature could drop below -10ºC or above 40ºC
- where it could be easily knocked or damaged
Fire safety measures for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
The level of fire detection described above is not sufficient for 'Houses In Multiple Occupation' (HMO) properties. If you rent out an HMO, read the North Yorkshire Fire Safety Guidance for information about appropriate fire safety measures.
Enforcing landlord duties
We are the 'enforcing authority' for the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. Under Regulation 5, if a landlord doesn't fulfil their duties we will serve a 'remedial notice' which sets out:
- which duties the landlord has failed to comply with
- what action should be taken
Action is required within 28 days. If they don't agree with the notice, landlords can submit a written appeal during that period.
Penalties for landlords failing to meet their duties
Under Regulation 7 (1), if a landlord fails to comply with the terms of the notice, we'll arrange for an authorized person to take the action, but only with the tenant's consent - Regulation 7 (1) and (4).
Under Regulation 8, if the landlord has breached a remedial notice, we can impose a 'penalty charge'. The landlord has the right to request a review of the penalty charge and can appeal to the first-tier tribunal on a number of grounds if they do not agree with our decision.
Landlords will not be in breach of a notice if they can show they've taken all reasonable steps, other than legal proceedings, to comply with the terms of the notice - Regulation 6 (2).
Contact the Housing Standards and Adaptations Team if you have concerns regarding fire safety or carbon monoxide within a rented property.