03 November
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In February 2019, the Scottish Government announced that the law relating to smoke detection in the home was changing to ensure all homes in Scotland, whether owned or rented, have the same levels of detection, thereby increasing fire safety.

Prior to the publication of the latest edition of the Bulletin, home owners had been set a deadline of February 2021 to ensure their property complied.

However, The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning has since requested that the implementation date for the law is put back to February 2022 and this has been referred to the Scottish Parliament for approval.  West Lothian Council will look to share information on the new date and any further changes as soon as it has been confirmed by the Scottish Parliament.

As it stands, the law requires that all homes must have:

·         One smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes e.g. the living room.

·         One alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings.

·         A heat alarm installed in every kitchen.

·         Carbon monoxide detectors must be fitted where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance (such as boilers, fires (including open fires), heaters, stoves and gas cookers).

Please note that all alarms are to be ceiling mounted and interlinked.

Landlords and home owners have full responsibility to ensure that their home meets the new criteria by the new implementation set by the Scottish Parliament.

As a social landlord, West Lothian Council is responsible for making sure that all council homes comply with this new safety standard and a programme of interlinked smoke detector upgrades across council houses is already well underway.

Restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have brought some delays to work however the service is continuing to progress with installations when possible.

Tenants are asked that should they receive a notification regarding an installation to please contact the council immediately and please provide access for operatives to safely carry out the work when appropriate.

If council tenants have any questions in relation to the installation programme then please contact Customer Services on 01506 280000.

Details of what the new law means for individuals who rent from other Registered Social Landlords, rent privately or own their home are listed below:

Homes rented from Housing Associations

Each housing association is making its own arrangements to ensure its homes meet the new requirement. Any questions should be directed to your housing association.

Private Rented Homes

Private rented homes already have to meet this standard and there is no significant change. If your private rented home does not already have the right number of interlinked detectors in place, contact your landlord in the first place. If your landlord doesn't fix the problem, you should report the matter to the First Tier Tribunal. (See https://rentingscotland.org/tenants/repairs/).

Licensed Houses in Multiple Occupation

The law has required higher standards of fire detection and warning for many years. This is checked as part of the licensing process and there is no significant change.

Bought Homes

Only the most recently built homes are likely to meet the new standard. Homeowners are responsible for making sure their home meets this new requirement. You can buy and fit the long-life battery versions yourself if you have the skills or you can get a tradesperson in to do it for you. Our Trusted Trader scheme (https://www.westlothian.gov.uk/trustedtrader) will help you find a reputable local business to do the work.

If you are buying a home, make sure it meets the standard already, or that you know how much it will cost to bring it up to the new standard.

Remember that where long life battery versions are fitted (instead of mains powered), these will need replaced every 10 years.

Please note that a building warrant may be required to install hardwired smoke detectors depending on the kind of property you own. A warrant will not be required for majority of houses however, if hardwired (electrical) smoke detectors are being installed to any existing flats or houses with a storey height above 4.5metres then a building warrant should be applied for and granted prior to carrying out the works. If lithium battery type detectors are installed then a warrant would not be required.

Further information on the new law is available at:www.gov.scot/publications/fire-and-smoke-alarms-tolerable-standard-guidance/