Communities Minister Gordon Lyons reveals critical changes to fire safety regulations in private rental properties. These updates, aimed at enhancing tenant safety, will set new standards for smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide alarms.

11 June 2024

Impending deadlines are fast approaching for fire safety regulations in Northern Ireland's private rental properties. Communities Minister Gordon Lyons has mandated the installation of interlinked smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide alarms under the Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022. These regulations are intended to enhance tenant safety by ensuring swift detection and response to potential hazards.

The Minister stated:

“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.”

Under the new regulations, private rental properties must adhere to the following minimum standards:

  • Smoke alarms must be installed in:
    • The room most frequently used by occupants for general daytime living purposes, usually the living room/lounge, unless it includes an open kitchen.
    • Every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landing areas.
  • Heat alarms are required in every kitchen.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms must be placed in any room or circulation space containing a fixed combustion appliance or a flue, including bedrooms through which a flue passes.
  • All alarms must be either sealed, tamper-proof, or hardwired.
  • Smoke and heat alarms need to be interlinked.

The Section 8 Regulations took effect on 30 May 2024. Landlords are given a lead-in period to ensure compliance: three months for new tenancies and six months for existing ones from the date the regulations were enacted.

Compliance dates

  • Existing tenancies initiated before 1st September 2024 must comply by 1st December 2024.
  • New tenancies starting on or after 1st September 2024 must comply from the start date of the new tenancy.

This move comes after a consultation process and ongoing dialogue with stakeholders as part of the implementation of the legislation concerning private tenancies.

The Minister further remarked:

“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.”

For additional information, please visit the DfC website.

All private landlords must ensure they are registered under the Landlord Registration Scheme.

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