Be Alarmed

Does your rented property have a working smoke alarm?

A survey has claimed that more than four in ten tenants in house-shares could be at risk due to not having working smoke alarms.

As of 1 October 2015, all landlords were required to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties. But new research by flat and house share site SpareRoom.co.uk suggests there’s a worrying lack of awareness of this regulatory change among landlords.

A survey of tenants in shared accommodation carried out after 1 October, when the new rule kicked in, reveals that less than six in 10 (57%) are certain they have working smoke alarms in their homes.

One in seven (15%) of tenants surveyed since 1 October say they don’t have smoke alarms in their homes at all. Another 16% have alarms, but aren’t sure they are working, while 5% don’t know if there’s an alarm in their property.

But the responsibility for fire safety doesn’t just lie with landlords. The survey also showed that 7% of tenants have actually removed the batteries from their smoke detector, putting themselves at risk.

These regulations will help prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year according to the government, but current awareness among landlords is worryingly low. A separate poll of landlords by SpareRoom showed that almost half (49%) are not aware of this change in regulation.

Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom.co.uk, said: “Fitting working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is now a legal requirement for landlords, yet half remain none the wiser. Professional landlords are the most likely to be clued up on this regulatory change, but the government will have its work cut out to educate those who don’t already have working alarms in their properties to make them aware of the new rules”.

“However, fire safety isn’t just the landlord’s responsibility. The fact that 7% of tenants have taken the batteries out of their smoke alarm is a real worry. Tenants have to do their bit to keep themselves, their housemates, and the property, safe.”