The law in Scotland has changed. From February 1st 2022 new smoke alarm, heat alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm legislation came into force. The original date of February 1st 2021 was pushed back due to the pandemic. It is the responsibility of the property owner to make sure that these alarms are fitted and in rental accommodation it is the responsibility for fitting the alarms will fall on the landlord.
The new law means that all Scottish homes must have interlinked smoke and heat alarms installed. This alarm system ensures that when one of the alarms is set off by smoke or heat, they all sound at the same time rather than just the one in the affected vicinity. Properties that have a boiler, open fire or wood burner will also need a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm installed in the same room. The smoke alarms will need to be fitted one main room which is most used – for example a living room – as well as every hallway or landing. A heat alarm rather than a smoke alarm will need to be fitted in the kitchen as it is designed to react to rapidly rising temperatures which could indicate a fire, rather than to smoke which can be generated from cooking.
The alarms have to be interlinked either be mains-wiring or wirelessly via a radiofrequency, and either mains-powered or with sealed batteries alarms. Alarms that run off replaceable batteries will not meet the requirements of the new Scottish regulations. All smoke and heat alarms should be fitted to the ceiling, if they are resting on a high shelf or on top of a cupboard they won’t meet the requirements of the new regulations.
These laws have come into force following the Grenfell fire in London in 2017 and although they have already been in place in the rental sector, it has now been extended to cover all housing.
It is worth noting that some systems such as Nest and Google Home do not comply to these new requirements this is because, although they can be linked to other alarms, they cannot detect when heat rises and can’t be connected to heat detectors.
What happens if I don’t have these alarms fitted?
It’s worth remembering that these laws are in place to keep you safe and so we would advise having interlinked alarms fitted as soon as possible if you have not done so already.
However, the government has announced that homeowners who fail to comply with the new rules will not, at this time face any penalties. In addition, insurance companies have announced that they will not force customers to meet these requirements from February 1st 2022 and will give homeowners time to have these fitted. For example, AXA Insurance has stated “We encourage installation as soon as possible however AXA will not invalidate a home insurance claim for existing customers who haven’t yet complied with the new law in Scotland.”
If you are a landlord, you have a legal responsibility to all alarms are interlinked.