New Carbon Monoxide alarm requirements 2022

23rd May 2022

New Carbon Monoxide alarm requirements 2022

New Carbon Monoxide alarm requirements 2022

The government confirmed in November 2021 that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would become mandatory in social housing following a consultation.

The new regulations have now been laid before parliament and, if agreed, will take effect on 1 October 2022. The main effect of the new regulations is to amend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations 2015 (2015/1693). This will remove the exemption of social landlords so that from October, housing associations and local authority landlords will be subject to the 2015 regulations.

This will mean that gas and oil-fired boilers (which did not previously need to have a CO alarm)  will now need one. In practice, this means that almost all rental properties, other than those that have entirely electric heating, will need a CO alarm of some sort. 

In addition, a new provision requires landlords to repair or replace any non-working smoke or CO alarm systems as soon as reasonably practicable if a tenant or their representative reports it as not working.

So what do landlords need to be aware of?

Landlords will be responsible for repairing alarms

Currently, the rules in England are that fire alarms are tested at the start of the tenancy by the landlord (or their agent). However, throughout the tenancy, it is by default the responsibility of the tenant to check and repair any smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.

The proposed change will mean that landlords will be responsible for repairing smoke or CO alarms during the tenancy, once they are told they are faulty or need replacing. There does not appear to be any specific time period for repairing and changing a faulty alarm, but as it is a matter of safety for both tenants and the property, it’s best to get this done promptly.

Criteria for the location of CO alarms

The criteria for the location of CO alarms are also predicted to change. Since 2015, landlords have been required to put a CO alarm in any room where solid fuel is burnt, such as wood, coal or biomass. This includes open fires, but not (strangely) gas or oil.

However, the new regulations are expected to require mandatory CO alarms in rooms with a fixed combustion appliance in private rented homes and when installing any heating appliance – excluding gas cookers. For example, in the room where a boiler is located.

While this isn’t mandatory now, many landlords already have CO alarms in rooms of fixed combustion appliances for safety reasons. However, the new regulations are likely to create a legal obligation.

When will the changes take place?

Currently, there is no set date for when these changes will be enacted, but it is likely to be around Autumn or Winter 2022.

They are expected to come into force immediately with no ‘grace period’ which is why landlords are being urged to ensure they are compliant in advance of this.