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articles > Taking a Hard Line on Smoke Alarms
Articles > Taking a hard line on smoke alarms

Article kindly supplied by Helen Bleasdale, PR & Marketing Manager
gas-elec Safety Systems, 01895 422988

It goes without saying that landlords are responsible for the maintenance of and major repairs to the property they are letting out.

This includes repairs to the structure and exterior of the property, heating and hot water installations, basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary installations.

By law, the landlord must ensure that the electrical system and any electrical appliance supplied with the let, such as cookers, kettles, toasters, washing machines and immersion heaters, are safe to use.

The 2004 Housing Act states that the landlord is also required to have in place the following fire safety requirements:

There has to be an adequate means of escape from the property. Depending on the size of the property, there may have to be smoke alarms and fire extinguishing equipment

Many fire authorities now recommend that hardwired smoke alarms are installed – they are considered more efficient lifesavers because they are wired in to the electricity and have a battery backup.

Hardwired or wired-in smoke alarm units are powered by wiring the alarm directly into a household's AC power supply at a junction box. Wired-in type smoke alarms are permanently installed to prevent tampering.


Hardwired alarms are normally installed into the lighting circuit and have an integrated re-chargeable battery supply – it does not have a separate fuse that can be used to disable the alarm.

Furthermore, the temptation to disable the alarm is totally removed. Tenants should be advised that in order to keep smoke alarm(s) in good working order, they should: test it once a week by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds; change the battery once a year (unless it’s a ten-year alarm); and replace the whole unit every ten years. This is reinforced as a tenant responsibility clause in most tenancy agreements.

In the event of a fire, a smoke alarm can save lives. They are the single most important means of preventing house and apartment fire fatalities by providing an early warning signal – in order to escape.

It has been proven that you are more than twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven't got a smoke alarm – a smoke alarm is the easiest way to alert you to the danger of fire, giving you precious time to escape. They are cheap, easy to get hold of and easy to fit.

NOTE: If the property is considered to be a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) by the council, which is subject to licensing, the landlord must also comply with license conditions in relation to fire safety.

For more information, contact gas-elec on 0800 587 9999


Founded in 1996, gas-elec carries out impartial safety inspections and light remedial works. Its unique inspection service provides the residential lettings market with multiple inspections of the gas and electrics in just one visit. gas-elec has over 126 franchisees operating from 18 regional offices, who this year will carry out more than 120,000 safety inspections in domestic properties throughout the UK.

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