News & Events

SMOKE DETECTION CHANGES ANNOUCED…ARE YOU READY?

SMOKE DETECTION CHANGES: Chapmans are delighted to have heard that a long awaited date has been announced for the relaxation of smoke/heat alarm requirements in the private rented sector (PRS).  This is hot off the press and we expect the government to release the Statutory Guidance at some point before 1st March. In essence though…

  • From 1 March 2019 Landlords will be permitted to install interlinked long life sealed lithium battery alarms instead of mains powered ones. Wireless alarms should conform to BS EN 14604 and heat alarms to BS 5446-2. Landlords who already have mains powered alarms installed can leave these in place until the end of the manufacturers recommended lifespan. Thereafter, they can be replaced with battery or mains powered units.  There are also no issues if a Landlord wishes to have a combination of the mains and wireless devices, as long as they are all interlinked.
  • From 1 February 2021 all properties in Scotland must meet the same standard of smoke/heat and CO alarm provision as the PRS, regardless of tenure. Although these dates are subject to parliamentary approval we expect this to be a mere formality with no changes being made.

We would always suggest chatting through the options in the approach taken and we certainly wouldn’t recommend changing a pre-existing mains wired systems for a wireless option.  Although we anticipate the initial set up cost to be cheaper for the wireless units, the units themselves are more expensive and so in the longer term the mains wired set up may be cheaper as the detector heads are cheaper to replace.  One of the real advantages of the wireless devices though, is the fact they can be more easily and quickly installed and there is less risk of damaging ornate cornicing and décor in a property. They would also obviate any requirement for visible trunking as well which all helps to enhance the look and feel of an investment property.

Just for clarity, under the Housing Scotland Act 2006 – Repairing Standard…(1)(f) the house (must have) satisfactory provision for detecting fires and for giving warning in the event of fire or suspected fire. In determining whether a house meets the standard of repair mentioned in subsection (1) (f), regard is to be had to any building regulations and any guidance issued by Scottish Ministers on provision for detecting fires and for giving warning in the event of fire or suspected fire.

For more information on the requirements for your specific property please check with Chapmans.

The Landlords should either install smoke and fire detectors that meet the standard set by building regulations or be able to justify why a lesser level of protection is appropriate in a particular house.

REASONS WHY A LESSER LEVEL OF PROTECTION MIGHT BE APPROPRIATE COULD INCLUDE:

  • Where the proximity of an open fireplace would make a detector impracticable
  • Where the cost of installing detectors would be prohibitive (this is more likely to be due to the cost of structural alterations necessary to install the detectors rather than the cost of the detectors themselves
  • What is the standard?

There should be at least:-

  • One smoke alarm in every room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes
  • One smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as hallways and landings
  • One heat alarm in every kitchen

Please note a building warrant may be needed and regular testing and maintenance is required. Chapmans carry this out for our Landlords, however we do not get involved with the Building Warrants process and unless our landlord tells us otherwise we will work on the assumption that all necessary consents are in place.

**Please note that properties requiring an HMO License will be subject to the Local Authorities licensing requirements which may be in excess of the above.