Smoke alarm 180x120Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) in England and Wales are calling for a law passed in 2013 to be enacted so all private landlords are obliged to install smoke alarms.

Currently, landlords are not legally obliged to install smoke alarms unless they are renting out houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) as the legislation requiring alarms in all properties went to consultation in 2013 and has not yet been brought into force.

This means there are 3.5 million smaller private rental homes which legally do not have to have them despite government data showing householders are at least four times more likely to die in a fire if they do not have a working smoke alarm.

Chair of CFOA’s Home Safety Committee DCFO Mark Cashin said: "While death and injuries from fires have reduced considerably in recent years, the majority of victims continue to be those who are most vulnerable, often living in private rented accommodation.

"This change would improve the safety of families and stop dozens of people from losing their lives to fire each year. The cost to landlords is small, with a ten year sealed alarm costing around £15."

Making our Nation Safer report
Mandatory smoke alarms are set to be a key issue at the LGA’s annual fire conference in Gateshead (March 10-11) and the LGA’s new report The Fire and Rescue Service: Making our Nation Safer.

This document sets out a blueprint for the next government, with a series of proposals for how fire and rescue services can improve fire safety and save the public purse money.

Equally the report outlines proposals to cement the Fire and Rescue Service as a key partner within other blue light services and to guarantee it receives the recognition it deserves - "from ensuring the service has the legislation it needs, to a share in the proceeds of crime".

Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Chair of the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee, added: "Many people will be shocked that most landlords are not obliged to install smoke alarms. The current laws are outdated and inadequate - and without question lives are being put at risk.

"While the majority of private landlords are reputable and voluntarily install alarms, there are a small minority who don’t, needlessly putting lives at risk. They have a duty of care to ensure their tenants are safe. This is why we are calling on the Government to enact the law and ensure all private landlords install smoke alarms – and save hundreds of lives every year.

"In the meantime, we would urge anyone who hasn't got one fitted already to make sure they are not needlessly putting themselves at risk of the death and destruction fire can cause by getting in touch with their local fire & rescue service requesting a home safety check."

Click here to read the report in full