How we’re helping landlords meet new rules on carbon monoxide alarms

Posted October 24, 2022 by Jon Matthews
Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Earlier this month, new regulations for carbon monoxide detectors came into effect, and we are offering to install a free carbon monoxide detector in every rental property visited by our engineers between now and the new year, in an effort to ensure every home is compliant with the new rules.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 is an update to 2015 regulations that states that all relevant landlords must ensure at least one smoke alarm is equipped on each story of their homes, and a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation where there is a fixed combustion appliance, such as gas heaters and boilers. Landlords who fail to comply could be fined up to £5,000.

Landlords are also now required by law to repair or replace any alarm which is found to be faulty. The law applies to private rentals and registered providers of social housing, in a bid to create parity for all tenants in the UK.

These amended regulations have been added to the pre-existing requirement to ensure that a smoke alarm is fitted on every storey of a rental property where there is a room used as living accommodation.

“Silent killer”

Understandably, landlords are seeking ways to be more cost-efficient in light of the impending recession. However, when it comes to gas safety, it’s important not to cut corners. The reputation of carbon monoxide as a ‘silent killer’ sadly, isn’t just hype: in 2020 alone, 41 people died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and many more fell ill.*

What we’re noticing is a “bare minimum” culture when it comes to the safety and maintenance of rental properties, which could pose major health risks for tenants. For example, we’ve witnessed engineers write a gas safety certificate without even leaving their van. That certificate is simply a snapshot of the boiler’s current state – it doesn’t represent its efficiency, or its likelihood of needing repairs. Given the stakes for tenants being so high, this is a shocking example of how dismissive landlords can be. We are hopeful that this new legislation will go some way to improving that.

Real solutions

Moreover, we recognise that we as a business have a part to play in helping our local community. As a result, we have implemented a price freeze on all boilers and services this winter, which we hope will go some way to helping households and landlords combat the rising cost of living. This, plus the new alarms, should go some way to keeping people safe and warm this winter.

A culture of care

We continue to champion the highest standards when it comes to gas safety, but fear others don’t share this approach. We have worked across a range of schemes historically including Eco Affordable Warmth Scheme to support homeowners, landlords and tenants but have continued to encounter a recurring theme of cost-cutting over delivering quality. The free carbon monoxide alarm scheme, we hope, will encourage landlords and tenants to take gas safety seriously, in line with the new legislation.

Our offer to landlords

We will supply and fit carbon monoxide alarms, however landlords installing the alarms themselves should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions. In general, carbon monoxide alarms should be positioned at head height, approximately 1-3 meters away from a potential source of carbon monoxide, ideally on a shelf or cabinet.

The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as mains powered (‘hard wired’) or battery powered) that should be installed, or where the alarms should be placed.

Landlords should choose the type of carbon monoxide alarms based on the needs of their building and their tenants, and that those alarms are compliant with British Standards BS 50291. Where battery-powered alarms are selected, alarms with ‘sealed for life’ batteries rather than alarms with replaceable batteries, are the better option.

Are you a landlord that needs help to meet the new carbon monoxide alarm regulations? Get in touch with the Aquila team and we’ll book you in for your free fitting.

Office of National Statistics 2020*