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Miller Samuel Hill Brown Solicitors Blog

From time to time we will post news articles and announcements relating to the firm and to various legal issues that may be of interest to you.

Fire and Smoke Alarms

Fire and Smoke Alarms

Since February 2022, all homes in Scotland are required by law to have installed interlinked smoke alarms as well as adequate Carbon Monoxide protection. The legislation was introduced in response to the Grenfell Tower disaster and applies to all homeowners and landlords. The legislation was due to come into force in 2021 but was delayed due to Covid which affected the supply chain of new alarms.

What are the requirements?

  1. One smoke alarm in the living room or room most used;
  2. One smoke alarm in every hallway and landing;
  3. One heat alarm in the kitchen;

If you have a carbon-fuelled appliance, like a boiler, fire, non-electric heater or flue, you are also required to have a carbon monoxide detector. This does not need to be linked to the fire alarms. Gas cookers and hobs do not need a carbon monoxide detector.

The smoke and heat alarms can either be hardwired, with wires physically connecting multiple alarms or wirelessly connected with radio frequency. The first option would need to be installed by a qualified electrician and, depending on the type of building, you may need a building warrant or listed building consent.

Help for Vulnerable People

To protect and provide assistant for the most vulnerable, the Scottish Government have given £500,000 to Care and Repair Scotland. Care and Repair is a charity which offers assistance to elderly and disabled people. To be eligible for support from the charity, people must live and own their own home in a council tax banding A-C, they must be of state pension age and receiving Pension Credit, or have a disability and in a support group for Employment and Support Allowance.

How Home Insurance will be Affected?

The Scottish Government have confirmed it is unlikely that an existing policy will be affected by the new legislation however this may vary depending on the terms and conditions of your individual home insurance policy.  AXA, Aviva, Admiral and LV= are some of the companies that have confirmed customers will still be covered even if they do not have the alarms immediately installed.

What are the Penalties for Failure to Comply?

The legislation came into force in February 2022, however, the government have allowed a “reasonable period” to fit the necessary alarms to comply and there will be no penalties for non-compliance.  However, failure to comply with this legislation could mean you face difficulties when   selling your home. The lack of required alarms will be highlighted in the home report and highlighted as a necessary repair which could potentially deter prospective buyers or give them leverage to negotiate the price.

In order to make their homes as safe as possible and to avoid future complications with house sales, homeowners should endeavour to get the necessary fire safety equipment installed as soon as possible.

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