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Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations

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Updated 25th August 2020

Across the UK there are around 200 laws and over 600 regulations, that need to be followed when renting out a property. A small proportion of those regulations cover the safety of your tenants. As a landlord the safety of your tenants should be your top priority.

In the UK each devolved nation (England, Wales, Scotland & NI) has different regulations surrounding the safety of tenants which can create confusion for landlords. To help you get to grips with what each nation expects of you as a landlord we have put together a guide to the legal requirements set out by each nation.


Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms


In England, all rental properties must follow The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 set out by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. A link to the full regulations can be found here.

To summarise, the regulations require that at least one smoke alarm must be fitted on every floor of the property where a room is used wholly or partly as living accommodation. Any room that contains a solid fuel-burning appliance such as a wood burner, coal fire or biomass must have a carbon monoxide alarm installed.

Both alarm types should be checked by either yourself or your letting agent on the first day of a new tenancy.


In Wales, only properties built after 1922 are required to be fitted with main powered, interlinked smoke alarms and must be fitted on every floor of the property. In properties built before 1922 landlords are asked to provide battery-operated alarms as a minimum.

Not required by regulation but would be best practice to install carbon monoxide alarms in all rooms where a gas oil or solid fuel appliance is present. It is always in your best interest to make sure that any solid fuel or heating installations are safe for your tenants.


Scotland has some of the strictest safety regulations in the UK for landlords and it is vital to have a good understanding of the regulations. All privately rented properties in Scotland must have a carbon monoxide detector fitted regardless of the tenancy start date.

Landlords should have a long-life battery or mains-powered detector (which complies with British Standards and European directives) in each room housing a carbon-based fuel appliance (excluding those used solely for cooking) and in any living room or bedroom if a flue from these appliances runs through it.

By law, landlords must provide fire-detection equipment for each property and there should be at least:

  • One working smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by tenants for daytime living purposes.
  • One functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as hallways and landings.
  • One heat alarm in every kitchen
  • All alarms should be interlinked.


Smoke alarms installed since 3 September 2007 must be mains powered, with all battery-powered fire alarms required to be hardwired when they are replaced.   

For more information, take a look at the official Scottish Government guidance

Northern Ireland:

As of the 31st of October 2012 Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms must be installed when a new gas appliance is fitted to a property. The Technical Document L of the Building Regulations in Northern Ireland was amended to cover the protection of tenants to Carbon Monoxide and states “Where a combustion appliance is installed in a dwelling, the reasonable provision shall be made to detect and give warning of the presence of CO gas at levels harmful to people.”

If you still have questions regarding the safety of your properties feel free to get in touch with one of the Octo Team who will be happy to help.


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