The importance of fire alarms in rental properties - know the legislation

Recently published statistics have found that there are up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries every year in the UK that relates to house fires. With this in mind during 2015 the UK Government put in place legislation to protect the lives of the tenants as well as the property that they live in.

The Legislation

Law came into force on the 1st October 2015 states that landlords must fit at least one smoke alarm on each floor of their property and any rooms that have a fuel appliance (such as cookers in the kitchen) will need to have a carbon monoxide detectors installed too.

As well as installing these new fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors the landlords will need to ensure that all alarms are in working order at the beginning of every new tenancy. The tenants also have a responsibility to ensure that the alarms in their property are working and identify any issues with their landlords.

Any landlord that doesn’t comply with these new regulations can face a penalty fine of up to £5,000 making it a costly piece of legislation to ignore.
There are some exceptions to this legislation which includes; student halls of residence, hostels, refuges, care homes and long leases.

Fitting smoke alarms

If you are a landlord who needs to install a smoke alarm then have a look through our top tips for choosing, fitting and testing your fire alarms:

  • Always choose one that complies with the British Standards and has the recognisable Kitemark to show authenticity.
  • Put the smoke alarm in a place where it can be easily heard, even from a different room with the door closed.
  • It is a good idea to place the fire alarm as centrally to the room as you can and around 12 inches (30cm) away from any light fittings.
  • The fire alarm should be easy to reach so that your tenants can check it weekly and change the battery.
  • Don’t fit the alarm in a kitchen or bathroom as the steam and cooking smoke can set off the alarm.
  • Alarms should not be fitted on damp or dusty areas and likewise they should not be placed on a ceiling where they can fall down.
  • If you have someone living in the property who is hard of hearing then you can purchase specialist alarms which will set off a vibration or light which signifies that it is activated.

Fire alarms may seem like another expense when it comes to renting out your property but they are proven lifesavers; by installing one you are not only making sure that you comply with the law but that you are also taking care of the tenants who live in your property.