New smoke alarm law announced for Norther Ireland’s rental sector

Changes provided by the Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 sees new requirements come into force for smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted in private rental accommodation in Northern Ireland.

The amended Section 8 regulations now require for a smoke alarm to be installed in the room judged to be the most frequently used for daytime living, as well as in halls and landings on each storey of the property. Heat alarms must be provided in every kitchen and must also be linked with the smoke alarms fitted, with carbon monoxide alarms required in any room that contains a fixed combustion appliance or a flue.

Announcing the changes to the law, Communities Minister Gordon Lyons said “These new regulations 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. 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.”

Highlighting the “clear link between a proper alarm system and improved safety”, he also explained that the legislation was the result of continuing consultation with stakeholders and that “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.”

These changes are due to come into effect as of 30 May 2024, with the Department for Communities explaining that a lead time for compliance was being provided.

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