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Mandatory smoke alarms to be introduced in Northern Ireland

Smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms will be mandatory in the private rented sector in Northern Ireland in a few months’ time.

The change will take effect on new tenancies from 1 September 2024, as well as existing tenancies from 1 December 2024.

Letting agent group Propertymark said it’s a long overdue change.

Timothy Douglas, its head of policy and campaigns, said: “Propertymark welcomes the introduction of mandatory smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms in private rented property in Northern Ireland.

“These measures will improve the safety of tenants and help professionalise the sector. We have long called for these reforms, and it is pleasing to see a lead in time for letting agents and their landlords to comply.

“We encourage agents to understand the changes and get ahead by installing and checking alarms before the new regulations come fully into force later in the year.”

Under the Smoke, Heat and Carbon Monoxide Alarms for Private Tenancies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024, there are three key changes for rented property.

Firstly a smoke alarm must be installed in the main living room, and in every circulation space on each storey, for example in the hall or landing area.

Secondly there must be a heat alarm in every kitchen.

And thirdly there must be a carbon monoxide alarm installed in any room or circulation space which contains a fixed combustion appliance or a flue, including any bedrooms a flue passes through.

Propertymark first raised the need for mandatory smoke and carbon alarms in January 2017 in response to the Department for Communities published proposals for significant changes to the sector in Northern Ireland.

The organisation has since lobbied on the introduction of the Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 and the development of these proposals.