News In Focus
Fire alarm rules to be strengthened for private homes
All homes in Scotland will be brought up to the same high standards of protection against smoke and fire, under new regulations to be brought in by the Scottish Government.
Following a consultation on fire and smoke alarms, the existing high standard required in private rented housing will be extended to all homes. The action comes in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in London.
The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 will be amended to reflect the new requirements, with a two year grace period for compliance after the amendments come into force.
The private rented housing standard requires:
- at least one smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes;
- at least one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings;
- at least one heat alarm installed in every kitchen;
- all alarms should be ceiling mounted; and
- all alarms should be interlinked.
The following changes to this standard, all supported by the responses to the consultation, are also proposed:
- to allow specified types of sealed long-life battery alarms as well as mains-wired alarms – reflecting the availability of appropriate technology and to encourage compliance;
- to specify a maximum age of 10 years for alarms; and
- to require carbon monoxide detectors in all homes.
If occupants are private tenants, the landlord is required to meet their duty to repair and maintain its properties as set out in the repairing standard under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. Private landlords are already required to ensure rented homes have fire and smoke alarms to the new standard.
Social landlords are expected to meet their duty to ensure that property meets the Scottish Housing Quality Standard, which is monitored by the Scottish Housing Regulator. Social landlords are already required to ensure homes have fire and smoke alarms, but not to the new standard.
Private tenants can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for assistance if landlords fail to carry out work needed to meet the repairing standard, and social housing tenants can complain to the Scottish Public Serviuces Ombudsman.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: "The tragic events at Grenfell Tower last year emphasised how important building and fire safety is, which is why we brought forward our consultation on this issue. Now everyone will benefit from the same level of protection, whether you own your home, or rent from a social or private landlord."