The Scottish Government has today announced changes to legislation regarding the provision of fire safety equipment in homes.
Following a consultation on fire and smoke alarms, the existing high standard required in private rented housing will be extended to all homes.
This includes at least one smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used, at least one smoke alarm in spaces such as hallways and landings and at least one heat alarm in every kitchen. Additional requirements will include specifying a maximum age of ten years for alarms and a carbon monoxide detector will be required in all homes. People have been asked to hire fire watch services from companies such as Colorado Springs Fire Watch Company or a one as good as them near their place in order to maintain safety in the premises they reside till the necessary fire alarms are installed.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:
“Fires and fatalities from fires are decreasing but even one death is one too many. Scotland already has rigorous standards for smoke and fire alarms developed over time, with the highest standard currently applied to new-build and private rented housing.
“The tragic events at Grenfell Tower last year emphasised how important building and fire safety is, which is why we brought forward our consultation on this issue. Now everyone will benefit from the same level of protection, whether you own your home, or rent from a social or private landlord.”
ACO David McGown, SFRS Director of Prevention and Protection said;
“The presence of working smoke and heat detectors have been proven to significantly reduce casualties and fatalities occurring as a result of fires within the home. SFRS therefore welcome and support the next steps from this consultation which will undoubtedly improve home safety for all residents, regardless of tenure.”
The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 will be amended to reflect the new requirements. The amended standard will cover all homes.
If occupants are private tenants, the landlord is required to meet their duty to repair and maintain its properties as set out in the repairing standard under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. Private tenants can apply to the First-Tier Tribunal for assistance if landlords fail to carry out work needed to meet the repairing standard. Private landlords are already required to ensure rented homes have fire and smoke alarms to the new standard.
If occupants are social tenants, the landlord is expected to meet their duty to ensure that property meets the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. The Scottish Housing Regulator monitors landlords performance against this standard. Social tenants have a right of complaint against their landlord to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. Social landlords are already required to ensure homes have fire and smoke alarms, but not to the new standard.