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All Scottish homes now affected by changes to fire and smoke detector laws

Monday 25 February 2019

Legislation has recently passed and from 1st February 2021 all homeowners in Scotland will have to meet the new standards for fire and smoke detection regardless of the property tenure.

The standards being introduced already apply to all private rented sector homes meaning all landlords and letting agents acting on their behalf should by now be meeting these before renting out their properties.

Through the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (Tolerable Standard) (Extension of Criteria) Order 2019, allowance has been made to permit tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms to be installed or mains-operated alarms with battery backup. Regardless of the type installed all smoke and heat detectors must be interlinked.

From the implementation date, in all properties there must be:

  • A smoke alarm installed in the room used most for general daytime living, such as the living room or lounge;
  • A smoke alarm for every hallway and landing on each storey of the property;
  • A heat alarm in every kitchen;

All smoke and heat alarms must be ceiling mounted and interlinked throughout the property.

How this affects buyers and sellers

Homeowners who do not comply could be subject to comments about the properties non-compliance on any home report or receive an order from the relevant Local Authority requesting they bring the property up to standard.

What does this mean for estate agents?

Although the legislation does not place any requirements on agents, it is advisable that you inform clients of the change in law. Although the changes are almost two years away, buyers and sellers may not be aware of the new rules and find themselves falling foul of the legislation should their property be inspected.

Why has this happened?

The standards have been introduced following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in London in June 2017 and the Scottish Government’s subsequent consultation on improving fire safety in Scotland’s homes.

In December 2017, NAEA Propertymark and ARLA Propertymark responded to the Scottish Government’s Consultation on Fire and Smoke Alarms in Scottish Homes. We argued that standards already existing in the private rented sector should be replicated across all tenures, and that sealed battery-operated alarms should be allowed in meeting the requirements.

With the standards affecting every homeowner it will ensure everyone will benefit from the same high level of protection whether they own their home or rent from a social or private landlord.

Housing associations whose properties are not compliant by the effective date will have any relevant action taken against them by the Scottish Housing Regulator.

The Scottish Government has released further detail on the new standards and what homeowners are required to do to meet it. The guidance can be found here.

Hungry for more?

Get up to speed on all the latest legislative change by booking your place at the Propertymark Scottish National Conference in Glasgow on 13 March 2019. Attendance contributes seven hours of Continuing Professional Development for Propertymark members. You can find out more about our array of speakers that will be there on the day in the official programme.