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Statement of principles: smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations

Specified Officers within the Private Rented Team, in accordance with the Council’s Scheme of Delegation have delegated authority to serve notices, assess fines and carry out works.

In our correspondence (accompanying Remedial Notices) we will make it clear that landlords have a defence of taking all reasonable steps except legal proceedings. We will also advise them to keep appropriate records to demonstrate that they have taken these steps in the event that they need to rely on this as a defence. We will ask for these records when we determine whether there has been a breach (for which a fine may be levied).

The Head of Housing Services will consider any representations landlords may wish to make about Remedial Notices served.

The level of (any) fine will be set by the case officer in conjunction with their line manager. The following principles will apply:

  • Generally we will serve a Penalty Charge Notice where we are satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, the landlord is in breach of their duty to comply with a Remedial Notice
  • The fine will generally be £5000
  • A prompt payment reduction of 10% will be given where:
    • Payment is made within 14 days of the service of notice (as defined in the regulations) or
    • A representation is received within 14 days of the service of the notice and the payment is received within the period of 14 days following the service of our notice of review of the charge (service dates as defined in the regulations)
  • Where we are aware of any extenuating circumstances these will be considered. However, by their nature, such circumstances cannot be fully defined in a policy. They will probably be unknown at the time that the Penalty Charge Notice is served but the landlord can provide these as a part of any representation against it
  • Generally, the Penalty Charge Notice will not be reduced or withdrawn in cases where the landlord complies with the Remedial Notice after the expiry date of that Remedial Notice

The Head of Housing Services will consider any representations landlords may wish to make about the level of fine assessed.

The proceeds of fines will be used to administer the regulations (including inspection of property and payment for works in default). Any residue will be used to support the other functions of the Private Rented Team.


For the purposes of this guidance, the word “tenancy” can also include references to licences. Please note that there are a number of exemptions to the requirements of the regulations.

Smoke alarms

The regulations require that a smoke alarm is fitted to each storey of the premises used wholly or partly for living accommodation. In this context:

  • A storey which solely comprises a staircase need not have a smoke alarm as there is no living accommodation present.
  • A bathroom or lavatory is considered as living accommodation
  • The premises may refer individual units of accommodation within the building
  • A self-contained flat refers to a part of the building which contains bathing, lavatory and kitchen facilities in addition to the living/bedroom areas, all of which are separated from the rest of the building such that access to the flat is via a single flat entrance door

In single tenancy property we will require a smoke alarm on each storey of the building. This also applies where there is a single shared tenancy.

In multi tenancy property we will require a smoke alarm in each storey of each tenancy. The following are examples of how this will apply:

  • In single storey self-contained flats (including studio flats); within each such flat (whether the building is an HMO or otherwise)
  • In multi storey self-contained flats and maisonettes; within each flat, one smoke alarm on each storey of such a flat (whether the building is an HMO or otherwise)
  • In buildings comprising both self-contained flats and other living accommodation; a smoke alarm on each storey where there is non self-contained living accommodation. This is in addition to those alarms located within self-contained flats
  • In buildings where all the accommodation is non self- contained; a smoke alarm on each storey
  • in hotel or bed and breakfast style accommodation being used to house residential occupiers; a smoke alarm on each storey where there is living accommodation used for this purpose

The smoke alarm must detect smoke. Fittings which detect heat (heat detectors) are not acceptable. The smoke alarm may incorporate its own sounder, or alternatively a separate sounder may be provided within the area covered by the smoke detection unit.

Subject to the above requirement, for the purposes of these regulations the mi nimum standard for these fittings is that of a nine volt battery unit. However fittings/systems of a higher standard (that is 10 year battery smoke alarms, (part of) a 240 volt alarm system (grade D), or part of a “panel” alarm system (grade A) are also acceptable provided they comply with the above criteria.

Landlords should note that there may be higher standards applicable to their property under other legislation. In particular, for HMOs, a panel system (grade A) or interlinked 240 volt system (grade D) will usually be appropriate.

Carbon monoxide alarms

The regulations apply to “solid fuel burning combustion appliances”. This term includes solid fuel boilers, wood burning stoves, cooking appliances and fire grates used for combustion. Fire grates which are purely decorative and are not intended for combustion purposes are excluded; however landlords are advised to make this explicit in the terms of the tenancy.

The regulations apply to all such appliances where they are located in a room in the premises. The term “room” includes halls and landings as well as other areas.

The regulations require a carbon monoxide alarm to be fitted in the “room” within which the appliance is located.


The regulations explicitly state that alarms are to be tested on the day the new tenancy begins. The regulations are specific about this date; it is recommended that landlords obtain documentary

evidence of this (for example the tenants’ signatures to this effect).

Where a fire alarm system (see preceding paragraphs) is provided that part which relates to the new tenancy (see preceding paragraphs) must be tested to confirm that it is operable as of the date of commencement of that tenancy.

Checks are to be carried out to ensure that the alarm is in proper working order. Testing is to be by:

  • (In the case of a Grade A system) (a) checking the control panel to ensure that the power light is illuminated and that no fault lights are present and (b) testing at a call point and ensuring that the sounders are working
  • (In the case of Grade D and battery smoke alarm/carbon monoxide systems) checking for the presence of the alarm unit and any visible evidence of non-functionality and (b) using the test button provided

In both cases appropriate remedial action is to be taken where faults are found.


The regulations make a number of exemptions. Broadly speaking these relate to:

  • Licensed HMOs
  • Housing where the landlords are Registered Providers
  • Housing where residents occupy as long leaseholders
  • Housing where “lodgers” share amenities with the residential owner or a member of their family
  • Some halls of residence, care homes, hospices, hospitals and NHS accommodation


This is new legislation; the Government may issue further guidance and we expect that the tribunals will clarify matters further when they consider appeals. We will update this guidance accordingly.