Carbon monoxide alarms in private rented housing

Carbon monoxide alarms in private rented housing

From 1 December 2015, the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 will introduce changes in relation to the requirement for provision of carbon monoxide alarms in private rented housing.

The 2014 Act introduces an amendment to the Repairing Standard, which applies to all private rented housing.  The Repairing Standard will be amended to include the additional requirement that “the house has satisfactory provision for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health.”  The Act also says that regard must also be had to any building regulations and any guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers. The Scottish Government guidance can be found here.

This new requirement is an extension of the changes which were introduced in 1 October 2013, where any new gas appliances that were installed within properties from that date meant that a carbon monoxide detector had to be installed within the property.  The 2014 Act seeks to ensure that all properties with gas appliances will have adequate CO gas detection, regardless of when the appliance was installed.

The requirement for a CO gas detection system relates to all private rented properties where there is a fixed combustion appliance either in the property or in an inter-connected space (for example, where there is an integral garage). Landlords should be aware that combustion appliances such as boilers, fires (including open fires), heaters and stoves fuelled by solid fuel, oil or gas all have the potential to cause CO poisoning. The Scottish Government’s guidance states that you are not required to have a CO detection system where there is no inter-connection with the property from an outbuilding or a garage that holds the fixed combustion appliance.

The CO detector can be battery powered.  The detector must also have a warning device which should signal an alert when the detector’s working life is due to expire and need to be replaced.  It is permissible to install a combined fire/CO detector, but due to the requirements for all fire alarms to be hard wired and interlinked, any combined fire/CO detector must also comply with this requirement.

Although the requirement for the provision of CO gas detection in private rented properties does not come effect until 1 December 2015, it is advised that all landlords take early steps to introduce CO detectors in their properties where there are fixed combustion appliances, to ensure that they are compliant with this element of the Repairing Standard in time for the 1 December 2015 deadline.

If you require any further advice in relation to this, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our LetLaw Team.

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