The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 require private rented sector landlords to:

  • install smoke alarms on every floor of their property
  • install carbon monoxide alarms in rooms where solid fuel is used (for example, wood burning stoves and coal fires)
  • test all alarms at the start of every new tenancy

The regulations took effect from 1 October 2015. They apply to any tenancy, lease or license of residential premises in England that gives somebody the right to occupy all or part of the premises as their only or main residence in return for rent.

Your local housing authority is responsible for enforcing the regulations. They can issue a remedial notice requiring a landlord to fit the alarms.

If the landlord fails to comply with the notice, the housing authority can arrange for alarms to be fitted and can levy a civil penalty charge on the landlord of up to £5000.

There are some exemptions, such as for long leases. More information is available in the excluded tenancies section of the regulations.

Houses in multiple occupation

Parts 1 to 5 of the regulations do not apply to landlords of licensed houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). However, similar requirements will be imposed through the HMO licensing regime.

The regulations change Schedule 4 of the Housing Act 2004 to require landlords of HMOs to have a smoke alarm installed on every floor of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms where solid fuel is used. The landlord must ensure that all the alarms are kept in proper working order.

Alarm types

The regulations do not specify whether hard wired or battery powered alarms are required.

Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the best alarm for their property and tenants.

All smoke alarms on sale in the UK must have CE marking under the European Constructions Products Regulation.

Gas appliances

Although not required by the regulations, we recommend that landlords install carbon monoxide alarms wherever gas appliances are fitted.

You should also obtain an annual gas safety certificate for each appliance.

Social housing

Registered social housing providers are currently exempt from the regulations. This is because private rented sector properties currently have fewer alarms installed than other housing – the regulations are designed to address this.

However, we recommend that all landlords install at least the number of alarms specified in the regulations.

Fire safety guidance

For essential guidance on fire safety in residential accommodation, including single dwellings, shared houses, bedsits, flats and flats which are in multiple occupation, visit the Residential Landlords Association website.