Landlord law: Your quick guide to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Ensure the safety of your tenants by checking the smoke alarm at the beginning of each tenancy.

At the start of each tenancy, £15–£25 per alarm.

Since 2015 you are legally obliged to install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your rental property, and test them at the start of every tenancy, or face a heavy fine.

You have to fit carbon monoxide alarms in every room with a solid fuel appliance, such as a coal fire or wood burning stove. To be prudent, also place them in rooms with gas appliances, such as a boiler, gas cooker or gas fireplace.

After your initial check, your tenants are responsible for testing the alarms during the tenancy, ideally once a month.

» Landlord jailed over broken smoke alarms

Something doesn’t necessarily have to go wrong for poor safety
measures to get you into trouble. In 2015 Ishaq Hussein, an
experienced landlord, got four months in prison after fire safety
inspectors found he had left his Reading tenants without working
smoke detectors for two years. Also, a washing machine blocked the
escape route, there was no firefighting equipment and the upstairs
carpet was a trip hazard.

That said, replacing your old smoke alarms can land you in trouble, too – at least with the neighbours. On their first night in their new rented home, friends were kept up by shrill beeping. It was piercing enough to wake three different neighbours, one of whom left an angry note on the door. Another finally called the fire brigade, who found about 40 faulty smoke alarms left by the landlord in the rubbish bags outside the house.

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