Fire Alarm Laws are Changing in Scotland
27 September 2021
The Scottish laws on fire alarms are changing from February 2022 and will affect all homes in Scotland. Here is all the Scottish Government information you need to know about the change of rules including what the change in laws mean for Scottish homeowners, homebuyers, landlords and tenants, how it can affect your property and what you need to do to comply with the new rules.
What Is the New Law on Fire Alarms?
Every home in Scotland must have interlinked fire alarms installed by February 2022.
Interlinked means that if one alarm goes off, the rest will also go off, meaning you will always hear an alarm wherever you are in your house.
The law applies to all homes in Scotland and it is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure their property has been fitted with interlinked fire alarms.
What Kind of Fire Alarms Do You Need To Install?
By February 2022, every home in Scotland is required to have the following fire alarm system in place:
- A smoke alarm in your living room or the room you use the most
- A smoke alarm in in every hallway or landing
- A heat alarm in the kitchen
All heat and smoke alarms must be mounted on the ceiling and be interlinked.
If you have a carbon fuelled appliance such as a boiler, heater or flue, you are required to have a carbon monoxide detector in the same room as this appliance. This does not need to be linked to heat or fire alarms.
You may use sealed battery alarms or mains-wired alarms. Both types of alarm are interlinked by radio frequency, meaning they don’t require WiFi.
If you choose to use battery fire alarms, they must be sealed tamper-proof units and have long-life lithium batteries, that can last up to 10 years. You may be able to fit this type of alarm yourself as they do not require an electrician.
Mains-wired alarms cost less, however they must be fitted by a qualified electrician and must be replaced every 10 years. It is worth remembering, you may need to also redecorate after having mains-wired fire alarms installed in your house.
Where Can You Buy Approved Fire Alarms?
The Scottish Government does not provide a list of approved fitters or suppliers for interlinked fire alarms.
You can purchase both types of fire alarms online or from several suppliers, furthermore, any qualified electrician can install the mains-wired type of alarm.
You need to check that each alarm complies with the following standards:
Smoke alarms: BS EN14604:2005
Heat alarms: BS 5446-2:2003
Carbon monoxide detector: British Kitemark EN 50291-1
The Nest Protect System will not meet the standard. This is due to them not meeting the requirements for a heat alarm under the relevant British Standard. British Standard (BS 5839-6:2019) states that only heat alarms should be installed in kitchens.
What Do Homeowners Need to Do To Comply With New Laws on Fire Alarms in Scotland?
Homeowners must ensure their property has a system in place, landlords are also obliged to have an interlinked fire alarm system installed in every property they own.
Homeowners and landlords are responsible for any costs. The costs will depend on what fire alarm system is currently in place, and the alarms you choose to install.
If you own your home as part of a shared ownership scheme, responsibilities will be set out in your occupancy agreement.
What Do Landlord Need To Do To Comply With New Fire Alarm Laws?
If you are a landlord in Scotland, the new fire and smoke alarm laws extend those which currently apply in the private rented sector to housing of all tenures. Landlords should already be complying with this.
What Should Tenants Do About the New Fire Alarm Laws in Scotland?
If you are a tenant of a privately rented property, it is your landlord’s responsibility to ensure fire alarms and other fire safety practices are adhered to. Tenants also have the right apply for a tribunal if they believe their landlord is failing to comply.
How Will the New Law on Fire Alarms Affect Buying, Selling and Renting Properties?
The new law on fire alarms coming into play in 2022 will apply whether or not you are planning to sell or rent your property.
Compliance checks will form part of any Home Report when you come to sell your home.
Those who are private renting should request confirmation that landlords or letting agents have had interlinked fire alarms fitted in any property they are interested in renting.
Can I Be Forced To Install New Fire Alarms in My Home?
As the new law on fire alarms in Scotland will be a minimum standard of safety, local authorities could make you carry out the work required to meet the new standard, providing this is reasonable.
If homeowners are unable to meet the standard, it is not considered a criminal offence.
How Much Will It Cost To Install New Interlinked Fire Alarms?
The Scottish Government has estimated that it will cost around £220 to fit an average 3-bedroom home with 3 smoke alarms, 1 heat alarm and a carbon monoxide detector. This cost is based on using sealed battery alarms that you can install yourself.
Is There Support Available To Help With Installing Interlinked Fire Alarms?
During 2018-2020, the Scottish Government provided the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service with £1m of funding to install interlinked fire alarms in the homes of people who were at high risk from fire as part of a home fire safety visit.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has temporarily stopped most of the free home fire safety visits to help protect staff and the public during the pandemic. However, exceptions are being made where residents are identified as being high risk.