New requirements for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms in private rental properties

Date published: 05 June 2024

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Communities Minister Gordon Lyons has announced forthcoming changes to the law relating to private rental properties.

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Mr 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.”

The minimum standards for private rented properties have been set as 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
    • every circulation space on each storey (hall, landing area);
  • Heat alarm installed in every kitchen; and
  • 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.

The Section 8 Regulations came into force on the 30 May 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 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.

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

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.”

More information is available on the DfC website

All private landlords who let a property under a private tenancy should be registered under the Landlord Registration Scheme

If you are a tenant and struggling with finances, a range of information is available on income support, housing and other areas, through the NI Direct website:

Notes to editors: 

  1. In situations where an open fireplace would make a smoke alarm impractical a heat alarm may be fitted, and in circumstances where the room includes an open plan living area, provided the heat alarm in the kitchen is installed in a position where it is not more than 7.5 metres from any point in a room a smoke alarm may be dispensed with.
  2. Sections 1 – 6 of the Private Tenancies Act legislation come into law from 1 April 2023. The text of the Act is available:
  3. In Northern Ireland, the Department for Communities is responsible for private tenancies legislation; the courts are responsible for administering it; and the local councils are responsible for enforcing it.
  4. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office via email
  5. Follow us on twitter @CommunitiesNI
  6. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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