1 February 2022 sees new legislation requiring every home in Scotland to have interlinked smoke alarms come into effect. In 2019 the legislation was brought in following the Grenfell Tower fire but its implementation has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The aim is to ensure everyone living in Scotland has the same level of protection whether they’re a homeowner or tenant.
The standards proposed already apply to new build and private rented housing. The legislation now extends to all property owners. That includes those who own private homes. If you are living in private rented accommodation, your landlord is responsible for installing the alarms.
Every home now needs to have:
The smoke and heat alarms need to be interlinked. The carbon monoxide detector does not need to be interlinked. This means that when one smoke or heat alarm is triggered, all of the other alarms will also sound.
The rationale for this is that if there is, for instance, a fire in the kitchen when everyone in the family is in the living room, all alarms will sound thus alerting the family to the danger.
“Stand alone” smoke alarms only sound in the room where the alarm is triggered. Interlinked smoke (and heat) alarms all sound at the same time irrespective of which room has triggered the alarm.
There are two options for these new types of alarms. They can either be connected to the electricity mains or run from batteries. If you intend to have mains-connected alarms, it is recommended that you have these professionally installed. The battery powered versions come as sealed units – that means you can’t replace the battery. They have a lifespan of 10 years and need to be replaced after that.
The heat, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must comply with certain standards:
Please ensure that you purchase the correct alarms if you are fitting them yourself.
It is not a criminal offence if you do not install these new types of alarm. However, local authorities will be responsible for enforcing this legislation. They will not enter people’s homes to inspect them, and they will not issue fines.
However, they could require homeowners to fit the necessary alarms. At the moment, the expectation is that Councils will advise property owners about these alarms.
If these alarms are not fitted and you are selling your house, the lack of compliant alarms will be highlighted in the Home Report.
Whilst home insurers have indicated that lack of the new alarms will not lead to loss of cover on existing home insurance policies, it is likely that you will need to comply when your home insurance policy comes up for renewal. You should always read the terms and conditions when you receive your renewal to ensure you will be covered.
Disabled and older people can access financial assistance through Care and Repair Scotland. It has recently been given an additional £500,000 to help vulnerable older and disabled people install fire alarms. You can read about their assistance by clicking here.
To be eligible:
More information about interlinked smoke alarms is available on the Scottish Government website. You can click here to find out more.