Are Carbon Monoxide Detectors Required in Rental Properties
Since the introduction of the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms (England) Regulations in 2015, the number of smoke alarms in the private rental sector has increased from 83% to 88%. Obviously, installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rental properties is already the responsibility of landlords. On 1 October 2022, English law has made it mandatory for private rental properties to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
The Development of England Regulations
October 2015: Landlords in England were required to install carbon monoxide alarms in rooms fitted with solid fuel heating.
2021 Consultation: To decide whether regulations for smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in rental properties need to be expanded.
Following the outcome of a two-month consultation, the government is asking more homes in England to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
11 May 2022: Drafting of new regulations and revision of some 2015 regulations
These alarms should be installed where any type of fixed combustion appliances (such as gas heaters, cookers and boilers) are used.
Relevant landlords of a specified tenancy are required to ensure that, during any period when the premises are occupied under the tenancy, a smoke alarm is equipped on every storey where there is a room used as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (which is a wider duty to the previous requirement for a carbon monoxide alarm to be equipped in any room which contains a solid fuel-burning combustion appliance) except for gas cookers.
When a tenant (or a tenant’s nominated representative) reports that an alarm may not be in proper working order is made, and the alarm is found not to be in proper working order, the alarm must be repaired or replaced. New paragraph (3A) provides that the landlord must carry out the new requirements as soon as reasonably practicable.
The draft statutory instrument was tabled in Parliament on 11 May 2022. Once ratified, the amendment will take effect on October 1, 2022.
As a landlord, you will be responsible for the cost of installing and maintaining these sirens according to the rules. However, the responsibility for regularly testing alerts will continue to rest with the tenant.
As a private landlord, you need to ensure that carbon monoxide alarms are installed in every property with fixed combustion appliances under the expanded regulations to achieve compliance.
Additionally, under the new rules, if your tenant tells you their alarm is faulty or damaged, you, as their landlord, will be obligated to repair or replace the alarm.
Requirements for the normal operation of the alarm
As part of EN 50291:1-2018, all landlords must comply with domestic fire alarm regulations. This recommends installing interconnected smoke, carbon monoxide and heat alarms in the property for quick response.
Scotland has recently updated its fire safety legislation to make it mandatory for all property - owned, privately let and socially let - to have linked alarms. This is because interconnected devices can provide more protection. Of course, not all detectors have to be interconnected.
Smoke alarm: Need to install interconnected smoke alarms in living room, bedroom, hallway(7~10-year battery life).
Heat alarm: Interconnected heat alarms must be installed in the kitchen(7~10-year battery life).
Carbon monoxide alarms: Must be installed in places where carbon fuel equipment (heaters, boilers) or flues are installed, and may not be interconnected with other alarms(7~10-year battery life).
Sources of carbon monoxide in rental properties
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and imperceptible gas that can cause carbon monoxide poisoning when people are exposed to carbon monoxide gas for a period of time. Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing substances, and the main sources in rental properties are the use of combustion equipment, aging, and lack of ventilation.
Ventilation: In many apartments, several rooms share a wall, which makes it difficult to increase the ventilation of the apartment. Because there are few doors and windows, the air circulation is limited, especially when cooking, it will increase the emission of carbon monoxide. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the ventilation in the apartment.
Heater: Since the heating device in the apartment is shared by multiple users, the space for placing the device is not large. In addition, if it is used for a long time every day, it is easy to cause the accumulation of carbon monoxide if the ventilation effect is not good. Therefore, it is recommended to turn off the heating device after use, and leave a certain space and good ventilation environment for the device.
If you want to know the sources of carbon monoxide in your home, you can refer to this.
What landlords should do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
As the main responsible person of the rental property, the landlord has a direct impact on the protection of the rental property from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, the landlord needs to put up posters in more prominent locations such as corridors, aisle, elevators, etc. to promote knowledge about fire, smoke and carbon monoxide so as to improve people's safety awareness.
Install related detectors
The most common and serious problem in rental properties is fire caused by smoke. Therefore, the installation of smoke detectors is mandatory. Here is a reference to the Grenfell apartment fire in the UK in 2017, which killed 72 people and escaped 223 people. In addition, there are many rooms in the rental property, and each room is equipped with a water heater, and the room space is small, if the water heater is not ventilated in time, it is easy to cause the accumulation of carbon monoxide gas in the house and cause carbon monoxide poisoning . Therefore, install at least one carbon monoxide detector in every room as well.
- Regularly inspection and maintenanceshould be arranged
Many detectors will reach their service life after 5 years of use, and some detectors will have false alarms and no power after a certain period of use. In the event of an incident, the landlord should arrange for a professional inspection worker to inspect and maintain the detectors of the entire rental property at regular intervals. It is recommended to check the detectors every 1-2 months, and check the gas equipment every six months. Of course, if the resident finds that the detector or the gas equipment outlet is faulty, please inform the landlord in time and ask him to repair the equipment.
Local authorities may ask landlords to pay fines of up to £5,000 if they break the rules. For licensed properties, failure to comply with this provision is a breach of mandatory conditions. This can lead to civil penalties of up to £30,000.