Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms

Carbon Monoxide:

Long-life Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms

From the 1st of December 2015, new regulations amending the existing Repairing Standard of the Housing (Scotland) Act came into effect regarding the provision of long-life carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in privately rented housing.

The new regulations have shifted the duty of care regarding the provision of carbon monoxide detection to landlords and applies to all landlords in Scotland renting out properties with fixed combustion appliances of any kind, with the exception of appliances used exclusively for cooking.

To ensure all rental properties meet the repairing standard, Scottish Private Landlords will have to install working Carbon Monoxide alarms in every room or inter-connected space of every rental property where there is a fixed combustion appliance.

It is the responsibility of the landlord, as imposed by the Repairing Standard, to ensure that a working carbon monoxide detector is installed in all rented properties. If a Carbon Monoxide alarm fails or expires during an active tenancy, it is the responsibility of the landlord to supply a suitable replacement.

Scottish Landlords

As a Landlord, you have a responsibility to keep your tenants safe from Fire and Carbon Monoxide (CO).

In Scotland, Landlords’ must fit Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms in their tenanted properties by law. Failure to comply with the law could result in a fine or even a prison sentence.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms FAQ

Current HMO guidlines in Scotland state that a carbon monoxide alarm must be present in any room containing a gas appliance. The new general legislation covers ALL rental properties, including HMO’s. Now, all combustion appliances within an HMO property (regardless of the fuel type) must be accompanied by a CO detector. This ensures that tenants are protected, regardless of the type of fuel being used to heat the property.

The chances of being exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning is times higher in privately rented homes than in other housing types. The change to the Housing (Scotland) Act supplements changes already introduced to Scottish building regulations. Since the 1st of October 2013, Scottish building regulations have mandated that a CO alarm must be fitted whenever a boiler, fire, heater or stove is installed or replaced.

How will this affect you?

All landlords in Scotland must provide a carbon monoxide detector with an integrated long life battery. Note: This means that even if a CO detector with removable batteries has previously been supplied, it must be exchanged for a unit with a sealed long life battery.

“Carbon Monoxide detectors should be powered by a battery designed to operate for the working life of the detector” – Scottish Government’s Statutory Guidance for the Provision of Carbon Monoxide Alarms In Private Rented Housing

A carbon monoxide alarm should be installed in every space/room containing a fixed combustion appliance and in any bedrooms or living rooms through which a flue from a combustion appliance passes.

To meet your obligations under the Repairing Standard it may be necessary to install more than one Carbon Monoxide alarm.

Where to locate a Carbon Monoxide alarm in a room

Carbon Monoxide detectors can either be wall or ceiling mounted. They must be positioned away from corners, windows and spaces with restricted air-movement.

Ceiling mounted CO detectors

Ceiling mounted Carbon Monoxide detectors should be positioned a minimum of 30cm away from any walls.

Wall mounted CO detectors

Wall mounted Carbon Monoxide detectors should be installed a minimum of 15cm below the ceiling. The recommended distance between the Carbon Monoxide detector and the fixed combustion appliance is 1-3 metres in an average sized room.

It is the responsibility of the landlord, as imposed by the Repairing Standard, to ensure that a working carbon monoxide detector is installed in all rented properties. If a Carbon Monoxide alarm fails or expires during an active tenancy, it is the responsibility of the landlord to supply a suitable replacement.

Landlords in Scotland that fail to provide CO detectors can be referred to the Private Rented Housing Panel (PRHP) by either the tenant, or the local authority. The PRHP is then able to issue what is called a Repairing Standard Enforcement Order which obliges the landlord to comply within a set time frame or face further action.


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