The Scottish Government has developed new legislation around the fitting of smoke alarms to properties in Scotland. But the roll-out for this new legislation has been delayed and the implementation of the new Scottish regulations regarding smoke and carbon monoxide alarms has been delayed until 2022 because of the impact of Covid-19 on businesses throughout the UK. But what about the implication of fire and safety regulations throughout the UK?

So what is this new legislation?

The new legislation in Scotland, which was due to come into effect in February 2021, demands that every home, either owned or rented in Scotland, had to be fitted with a working smoke alarm. These must be fitted in the main living space which also link to other areas of the property. This moves aims to ensure that residents can be alerted of a potential fire hazard no matter where they are in their homes and take appropriate safety actions. Smoke alarms should be implemented into the house wiring for a more reliable safety feature. 

However, there have been obstacles highlighted with the roll-out, with complaints that there has been a lack of advance warning for qualified tradesmen to carry out fitting throughout Scotland.

Funding

Scotland has also financially provided for the implementation of this legislation by setting aside £15 million for the provision of smoke alarms in social housing. The Scottish Government has also provided a large sum for the use of its Fire and Rescue Service, in order to ensure that the service can visit properties and advise and ensure that vulnerable tenants get the help they need with the installation of alarms. 

Funding would be a big consideration of the decision if the rest of the UK were to follow Scotland’s example, as each area of the country have their own budgets to manage, and of course England has the higher population density of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

The rest of the UK?

But will the rest of the UK follow Scotland’s lead? Each area of the UK currently has its own legislation regarding fire and carbon monoxide alarm regulations. This makes it even more essential to seek out independent advice, preferably from your local fire service who can advise you how to fully protect your tenants and your property, while complying with your local fire regulations. 

For example, from October 2015 the law in England required private landlords with rental properties to fit one smoke alarm on each storey of their premises. Landlords are also required to fit a carbon monoxide detector in any room near a solid fuel burning appliance. But if a gas boiler is fitted then a carbon monoxide sensor is only recommended. Many landlords offer a property inspection for their tenants on a regular basis to ensure their smoke alarms are currently operational.

Dual alarms are available, but many are not hard wired, instead fit with batteries. This type of smoke alarm requires the tenant to ensure it is kept in working order. Unfortunately, it is a sad statistic that of the many house fires occurring in England, nearly 20% had alarms installed but not working. Using a property inspection app will make the responsibility of ensuring your property, and your tenants, are safe with an installed and working smoke alarm.

Scotland is certainly leading the way when it comes to standardising the legislation surrounding fire safety. Whether the rest of the UK follows suit is debatable, but there is nothing to prevent landlords following Scotland’s lead by ensuring the safety of their tenants and properties.