At least one smoke alarm must be installed on each storey of a rental property used as living accommodation, and a CO alarm in any room containing solid fuel appliances that is used as living accommodation.
The landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy. Note: in the DCLG’s view, for the purpose of these regulations, a mezzanine floor would not be considered a storey.
In general, smoke alarms should be fixed to the ceiling in a circulation space, i.e. a hall or a landing, and CO alarms should be positioned at head height, either on a wall or shelf, approximately 1‒3m away from a potential source.
The immediate landlord (or someone acting on their behalf) must test the alarms on the first day of a new tenancy, ideally with the tenant/s present.
Tenants should be advised to take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order; testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency.
The first day of the tenancy is the date stipulated in the agreement, even where the tenant decides to actually move into the property on a later date.
A new tenancy is one commencing after the 1 October 2015, not a continuation of an existing tenancy before that date.
In cases where tenants refuse access for alarm fitting or testing, the landlord should write to them, with a copy to the local authority, explaining that it is a legal requirement to install the alarms and that it is for their own safety.
The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as hard wired or battery powered) to be installed. Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the best alarms for their properties and tenants, but it is recommended that 10-year guarantee lithium battery or hard-wired alarms are installed in pre-1 June 1992 properties.
The regulations will apply to any tenancy, lease or licence (not lodgers living with a landlord or family) of residential premises in England, that gives somebody the right to occupy all or part of the premises as their only or main residence, in return for rent. There are some exemptions, such as for long leaseholds and social housing landlords.