Northern Ireland private rental properties: new requirements for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms

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New requirements for alarm systems in private rental properties have been announced by Communities Minister, Gordon Lyons.

The changes are designed to keep people safe by setting a minimum standard for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms in private rental properties.

“This is the latest stage of changes provided for by the Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022,” Mr Lyons said. “These measures are designed to protect the rights and well-being of tenants in the first instance. In addition, they also aim to provide a clear framework for landlords, outlining their responsibilities in relation to properties and tenants.”

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The minimum standards for private rented properties have been set as:

The new regulations are designed to keep people safe by setting a minimum standard for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms in private rental properties.  Photo: Helena McManusThe new regulations are designed to keep people safe by setting a minimum standard for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms in private rental properties.  Photo: Helena McManus
The new regulations are designed to keep people safe by setting a minimum standard for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms in private rental properties. Photo: Helena McManus

- A smoke alarm installed in the room which is most frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes (normally the living room/lounge, except where the room includes an open kitchen), and in every circulation space on each storey (hall, landing area);

- A heat alarm installed in every kitchen;

- A carbon monoxide alarm installed in any room or circulation space which contains a fixed combustion appliance or a flue (that will include any bedrooms a flue passes through).

Alarms can be either sealed tamper-proof or hard wired alarms; smoke and heat alarms must be interlinked.

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The Section 8 Regulations came into force on May 30, 2024, with a lead in time applied for private rental landlords to become compliant (three months and six months respectively for new and existing tenancies from the date the regulations were made).

Compliance dates

Existing tenancies granted before September 1, 2024 must comply by December 1, 2024. New tenancies granted on or after September 1, 2024 must be compliant on the date the new tenancy is granted.

The move follows a consultation and ongoing engagement with stakeholders as the legislation governing private tenancies is implemented.

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The Minister added: “There is a clear link between a proper alarm system and improved safety. An early warning of potential danger can help to reduce injuries and ultimately save lives. It can also serve to limit damage to a property as a result of fire.”

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