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Smoke alarm

A Renter's Guide to Fire and Carbon Monoxide

27 July 2020 Simon Banks Read time: 2 min
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Simon Banks

From making sure you have all your stuff ready to go for the move to getting utilities set up, there’s plenty for renters to think about when it comes to moving home. And it’s easy to get lost in the moment as you frantically prepare everything for your new place.

You would even be forgiven for forgetting a few things here and there. One aspect you shouldn’t forget under any circumstances, however, is making sure the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector are ready and in working order when you move in.

If you’re unsure about the particulars concerning fire and carbon monoxide, worry not. We’ve got everything you need to know about smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors so that you can move into your new humble abode without any concerns.

Who is responsible for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors?

The landlord is responsible for ensuring these devices are set up before you move in. Regulations are in place that state a smoke alarm needs to be on each floor of the property and a carbon monoxide detector should be in place if somewhere contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.

Carbon monoxide detector

What are solid fuel burning combustion appliances?

A solid fuel heating device equates to any wood, coal, or other similar organic fuel-burning device. These might include:

  • Fireplaces
  • Fireplace inserts
  • Wood stoves
  • Central furnaces
  • Or any combination of these devices

When you move into your new home, you should go through a check-in process. This involves either the landlord or the letting agent, who will show you working devices around the home, including smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Who maintains appliances?

Landlords are also required to maintain gas appliances periodically, hiring a Gas Safety engineer to inspect items around the home. Once every 12 months, an inspection should be carried out, and the engineer will provide a safety certificate for the landlord and yourself.

You should also keep tabs on the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector by pressing and holding the button to see if they beep. If you believe either appliance has issues, report it to the landlord or managing agent as soon as possible.

What about furnishings?

Any furnished property must feature furniture that passes the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988/1989, 1993 and 2010. Furniture that complies with these regulations features a fire safety tag, which is usually found on the bottom of the item.

Fire safety ta

Landlords don’t need to point these out to you specifically, but all furniture should feature them. If you are unsure or can’t find the tag, contact the landlord or the furniture maker to find out if the items pass furniture and furnishings regulations.

What are your rights if a property doesn’t feature the correct equipment?

In the unlikely event that a landlord hasn’t installed a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector, you should notify them or the letting agent immediately. If a property doesn’t feature the relevant safety items, the landlord will likely be found liable if there’s a fire or carbon-related incident.

For example, a fire incident could see a landlord receiving anything from an official notice that requires them to install the alarms to receiving a £5,000 fine. If the issue turns out to be more severe, they could even find themselves facing criminal charges and prison time.

As a renter, it’s your right to live in a property with the relevant detectors – especially a smoke alarm. If, at any time, you feel there is a fire or carbon monoxide related issues, contact your landlord. Should any contact with the landlord not be taken seriously, you can contact your local council’s environmental health department.

Staying safe in your home

Having a fire alarm is a basic right, while a carbon monoxide detector is needed for any property with fuel-burning appliances. As a renter, it’s vital that you know where you stand in regards to these alarms and the precautions so that you can take in ensuring they are in place. Do that, and you can enjoy a happy tenancy safe in the knowledge that your home is well protected against fire and carbon monoxide.

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