Do landlords have to provide carbon monoxide alarms?

As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to follow all safety regulations in place to protect your tenants. Fitting carbon monoxide alarms in the relevant areas is one of these. Whether you’re considering becoming a landlord or looking to brush up on your knowledge, read our guide all about carbon monoxide alarms in rented property.

Do landlords have to provide carbon monoxide alarms?

Yes, landlords have to provide carbon monoxide alarms in their rental properties. This regulation has been in place since 1st October 2015. 

An alarm must be fitted in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used, and a gas boiler is fitted. Examples of solid fuels include coal and wood, so an alarm should be fitted near an open fire or log burning stove. A non-functioning, strictly decorative fireplace wouldn’t class as a solid fuel-burning appliance. 

Despite this, gas appliances can also emit carbon monoxide, so landlords should take the extra measure to install an alarm in any rooms with gas appliances too.

The regulations don’t outline the precise location that the alarms should be placed in the room. Although, it’s best to fit the alarm at head height on a wall or shelf, around 1-3 metres away from the possible source of carbon monoxide. Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, and you can’t go wrong. 

Who is responsible for checking the alarms?

The landlord (or someone acting on their behalf) must ensure all alarms, including the carbon monoxide alarms, are working at the start of every new tenancy. 

Once the landlord has tested the alarm on the first day of the tenancy, it’s then up to the tenants to check the alarms regularly. If the alarm stops working during the tenancy, the tenant must inform the landlord to arrange replacement batteries or a new alarm. 

What types of tenancy are affected by the regulations?

For private landlords in England, the regulations apply to any tenancy, lease or licence of residential premises that allow someone to occupy part or all of the premises as their only/main residence in exchange for rent. In November 2021, it was announced that the regulation will also apply to social housing

The carbon monoxide regulations don’t apply if the occupier shares the property with the landlord or landlord’s family. ‘Sharing the property’ relates to situations where the tenant and landlord share amenities like a living room or kitchen.

How can a landlord prove they’ve checked the alarms?

You can prove that you’ve tested the carbon monoxide alarm as part of the inventory process. After you’ve checked the alarm, record it in the inventory and ask the tenant to sign and confirm they’re happy with it. 

What happens if a landlord doesn’t install a carbon monoxide detector?

As a landlord, there is no excuse for not fitting a carbon monoxide detector. The small device can save lives, and you have to follow all the regulations to protect your tenants. Because of the high importance of carbon monoxide alarms, there are consequences if you fail to install one.

The council can spot check your property or someone may report you for not fitting a carbon monoxide detector. The local housing authority will enforce the regulations and issue a remedial notice stating that the alarm must be fitted within 28 days. If the landlord still hasn't installed an alarm after this point, the local authority will set it up themselves and can charge you up to £5,000.

Read more advice from CIA Landlords

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