From July 2022 the new ‘Renting Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) (Wales) Regulations 2022’ require landlords in Wales to install mains-powered, interlinked smoke alarms. At least one smoke alarm is required for each floor of the building with heat alarms recommended for the kitchen, which is the room with the highest fire risk.
Heat alarms avoid false alarming in case of burnt toast compared with standard smoke alarms, which are susceptible to false alarming in/near kitchens. Carbon monoxide detectors (although not required to be mains-powered or interlinked) need to be fitted in rooms with fuel-burning appliances or rooms with a flue.
The Welsh law is largely in line with British Standard BS 5839-6:2019 which requires rented dwellings to be fitted with mains-powered, interlinked smoke and heat alarms (grade D1). However, the standard specifically requests sealed lifetime backup-batteries rather than offering the option of exchangeable alkaline backup batteries.
While the Welsh regulations do not specify the use of sealed self-charging (continuous trickle-charging) backup-batteries, it stipulates that the landlord is responsible to ensure that the alarms are working. How a landlord can ensure continuous operation without sealed self-charging batteries is difficult to envisage.
Summary of regulations:
- Minimum one smoke alarm on each floor (for example in landings and entrance hall)
- Heat alarm for kitchens are recommended by the new Regulations and required by BS 5839-6:2019 in rented properties. With British Standards referred to by most insurers, this is an important part of the new requirements.
- The alarms must be close enough to bedrooms to ensure the tenants can hear the alarms when asleep.
- Alarms to be supplied with power by fixed mains-power wiring and a back-up battery. The connection between alarms can be by communication wire or radio-frequency signal.
- CO alarms to be installed in all rooms with a fuel burning appliance or flue. This includes boilers, gas cookers, fireplaces etc.
- The landlord is responsible to regularly test and maintain the alarms in line with the manufacturers’ instructions.
More information and Alarms suitable for the Welsh Landlord Regulations can be found here