Mains-wired, interlinked smoke alarms required from December 2022 | CPS Homes

Mains-wired, interlinked smoke alarms required from December 2022

Mains linked smoke alarms required in all propertiesBy now, you may have heard that Welsh Government is implementing its Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 on 1st December 2022.

The requirement for smoke alarms to be installed on every storey of every property is one of the Act’s many changes that landlords in Wales need to be aware of.

The detail

The requirement for smoke alarms comes from the new Fitness of Homes for Human Habitation (FFHH) element of the legislation. It requires smoke alarms to be installed on every storey of a dwelling, connected to the electrical supply and inter-linked with all other smoke alarms.

A bit of background

This is the first time a ‘catch-all’ piece of legislation has been introduced for smoke alarms in privately-rented properties in Wales.

Previously, a mixture of legislation, regulations, guidance and British Standards dictated – or at least recommended – what fire detection measures landlords should have installed in their property, which was often dependent on the make-up of the current tenants, e.g. an individual, couple or family forming a single household, or sharers forming a HMO.

It’s always been a very complex area, which clearly hasn’t escaped the powers-that-be and has no doubt influenced their decision to introduce legislation that applies to all properties.

Considerations to be had

Smoke alarms should be positioned where they can be heard by the occupier when asleep, so usually a hall and landing area. Guidance accompanying the Act says that, depending on the size of the property, landlords may consider it appropriate to ensure the presence of more than one smoke alarm to each storey. It goes on to say that it may be appropriate to fit an additional heat alarm in the kitchen area.

The fire service provides further guidance on the type of alarms available and their fitting, whilst BS 5839-6:2013 (part 6) sets out the requirements for the proper fitting of smoke alarms in domestic properties. A contractor specialising in the fitting of smoke alarms will be able to make recommendations on the type of system required to comply.

Landlords are advised to note the manufacturer’s recommended lifespan of a fire alarm, which will vary depending on the alarm. One that has passed its expiry date may not be fully operational and incapable of detecting smoke.

Ongoing inspection and servicing reports

In order to comply with the Act’s requirement to ensure alarms are in good repair and proper working order, a competent professional should be instructed to test the system and produce a fire detection and alarm system inspection and servicing report. The report will state when the next inspection and service should take place, which will be based upon risk assessment and the type of system installed. We’re offering new landlord clients free safety certificates and inventories for the whole of 2022.

The consequences for not complying

We needn’t go into the danger and threat to life that fire can cause. The worst possible outcome for not complying is clear.

Additionally, the legislation dictates that properties will be deemed unfit for human habitation where smoke alarms aren’t installed or aren’t in good working order, and rent will not be payable by the tenant for the unfit period.

Landlords have until December 2023 to get their house(s) in order

Where there’s already a tenancy in place when the Act comes in on 1st December 2022, landlords will have a year to comply with the new smoke alarm and electrical safety certificate requirements, unless a new contract starts within that year (in which case the requirement kicks in on the new tenancy start date) or a contract goes from fixed-term to periodic within that year (the requirement will kick in on the periodic date).

This part of the legislation is unlikely to affect landlords of HMO properties as they should already have appropriate fire detection systems and inspection regimes in place due to the higher risk nature of HMOs. It's landlords of non-HMOs who – if they aren't already present – will need to install appropriate smoke alarms and arrange for them to inspected and certified regularly.

As Cardiff's largest manager of homes in the private rented sector, our landlord clients can be assured that our buying power with local contractors means we're able to secure the best possible prices for both installation of alarms and periodic inspections. For our clients whom this legislation affects, we will be in touch with more information in due course.

Further reading

Want to know more? Head on over to the Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022 or Welsh Government’s accompanying guidance.

Let CPS Homes help

We're experts on The Renting Homes (Wales) 2016 Act and are helping prepare landlords for the changes. By instructing us to manage your property, we will…
  • Work with you to put efficient processes in place well in advance of key dates for new legislation and regulations, ensuring you and your properties are compliant, safe and legal.
  • Save you the cost of a Rent Smart Wales landlord licence and the hassle of ongoing training.
  • Maximise your rental income by ensuring the property is always achieving its full potential.
  • Provide you with your own representative within our Lettings and Accounts departments.
  • Produce a FREE professional walkthrough video tour and photography as part of our standard marketing package.
  • Place you on our VIP Investor list where you'll get priority access to pre-market investment properties before they're listed online.
  • Provide you with peace of mind via our Client Money Protection (CMP) policy, professional indemnity insurance, and redress scheme membership.
To discuss CPS Homes taking over management of your property, contact our Senior Property Investment & Market Advisor, Rhys Owen, today via or 02920 668585.

24 January 2022


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