From 1st February 2022, all homes in Scotland will be subject to a new set of standards for Fire safety and smoke alarms.
Certain conditions must be met in your property by that time, regardless of whether it is owned or rented:
- There must be a smoke alarm installed in the room that you (or your tenant if you are a landlord) use most for daytime living (e.g., a living room).
- There must be a heat alarm installed in every kitchen.
- There must be at least one smoke alarm placed in a circulation space (e.g., your hallway or landing) for every storey of the building.
- All smoke alarms in the property must be interlinked and ceiling mounted.
- There must be a carbon monoxide detector installed if there is a carbon fuelled appliance in the property (e.g., fires, boilers, and heaters).
If you are a property owner (e.g., the owner occupier or the landlord) you are responsible for ensuring that these standards are met. This includes paying the costs of purchasing and installing any new equipment.
If a property fails to meet the above conditions, it can severely impact upon the home report if you wish to sell it. In addition, the local authority can use statutory powers to intervene and order that you carry out work to raise the property to the correct standard.
Frequently Asked Questions
What If I am a tenant?
The responsibility for making the changes rests with your landlord because they are the property owner.
If you are a tenant renting from a private landlord, they should already be complying with the regulations. This is because the new regulations are already in place for private tenancies. If your landlord has not met them and refuses to do so, you can bring the issue to the attention of the Housing Tribunal.
If you are a social tenant (housing association or local authority), your landlord should have been informed of the changes and should have made plans to implement them by 1st February 2022. Your landlord will be monitored and held to account by the Scottish Housing Regulator.
Do all alarms in different properties in a block of flats have to be linked?
There will be no obligation to link alarms between different properties in a block of flats or a tenement. You will not have to put fire alarms in communal areas.
Must the alarms be linked in my rented property if it has housing association shared ownership?
You will be responsible for ensuring the property is in line with the regulations unless it is stated in the occupancy agreement that the housing association has responsibility for managing such matters.
Is there a specific type of alarm that should be bought?
The Scottish Government advises that either mains-wired or tamper-proof long-life lithium battery alarms be used. If you choose mains-wired alarms, a qualified electrician will be needed to install them. You should check that systems meet the requirements before purchasing them.
Is there any financial support to help me buy the equipment needed to meet these regulations?
If you are the property owner, you will be expected to pay for any new equipment in most circumstances. However, your local council may offer discretionary funding to assist with the cost if you are finding it difficult to do this.
To find your local authority, visit www.gov.uk/find-local-council
Will my Home Insurance be affected if my home doesn’t meet the new regulations?
Different home insurance policies will have different terms and conditions which a homeowner must comply with in order for their home insurance to be valid. If you are not sure how the new fire and smoke alarm requirements affect your policy, get in touch with your insurer to find out.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) have said –
“We would encourage people to install interlinked alarms so that they can evacuate their home safely in the event of a fire. Our members are aware of the new regulations coming into force and are unlikely to invalidate a home insurance claim for existing customers who haven’t yet complied with the new law in Scotland. Anyone who is unclear on their policy terms and conditions should speak to their insurer.”