HMO Guide on Smoke Alarms for Tenants and Landlords

In this complete and ultimate guide to HMO property, we give you the principles on of HMO property from A to Z.

Smoke alarm is the most important piece of safety equipment in any home and especially in a rental property such as house in multiple occupation. It’s required by low that they’re installed and kept in working condition.

HMO Landlords’ Responsibilities Around Smoke Alarms

If you own an HMO property, you need to make sure there’s at least one smoke alarm installed on every level of the house where there are rooms used as living accommodation. So a loft used only for occasional storage wouldn’t need one, but in general, most floors of an HMO would. You need to know that this is the minimum requirement, and it may be sensible to install extra smoke alarms depending on the layout of your house.

There are no specific rules about what kind of smoke alarm you need to get to you HMO, but it’s usually better to have proper wired ones installed rather than relying on cheap stick-on alarms which will be forever bleeping at your tenants to tell them the battery is low. The main purpose of a smoke alarm is not to tick a legal box but to keep your tenants and property safe, and there’s no sense in installing one if it’s so annoying that the tenant ends up taking the battery out.

Another legal requirement is to test your smoke alarms on the first day of the tenancy to make sure they’re working. Better to do it in the tenants presence during check-in and inventory. Once the tenants have moved in, it’s their responsibility to check the alarms regularly, though you’ll need to arrange repairs or replacements if they find any issue.

HMO Maintenance

HMO Maintenance

Property letting is a big investment and ignoring problems at an early stage can lead to expensive bills. You should encourage tenants to bring to your attention items of disrepair at the property as possible… read more

Residents’ Responsibilities Around Smoke Alarms

HMO smoke alarm

If you are renting a property, it’s up to the HMO landlord to make sure there are smoke alarms on each floor and that they’re tested at the start of the tenancy. If the smoke alarms are all in working condition on check-in day, it’s your responsibility to test them regularly for the whole tenancy period.If it’s needed the landlord should show you how to do it.

It’s better if you test the alarms once a month, and you should get any problems remedied as quickly as possible. If it’s just a low battery then you can just replace it yourself, but if there’s a fault with the alarm then you should contact your landlord and ask them to have it fixed.

No need to say that you shouldn’t interrupt the operation of the alarm for any reason.

Other Alarms that May be Needed to be Installed in HMO

For example by law a carbon monoxide alarm needs to be installed in any room with a solid fuel-burning appliance (for example a wood burner or a coal fire). While gas fires and boilers don’t burn solid fuel, they can still produce poisonous carbon monoxide gas so it’s safer to fit an alarm near these devices, even though it’s not a strict requirement.

It may also be needed to install a burglar alarm – which will not only protect your contents but might also mean cheaper insurance premiums for both landlords and tenants. But that depends on the HMO location.

Nota bene!

Fire safety requirements for licensed HMOs can vary depending on your local authority and will often be tailored to your individual property following a specialist inspection. All requirements should be clearly set out under the terms of your HMO licence, but if you are not sure about something then you should contact your local council’s environmental health team for further advice and clarification.


More to explorer