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The importance of the new fire alarm laws when selling a house in Scotland

Changes to the fire alarm law in Scotland from February 2022

The Scottish Government carried out a review of Scotland’s building and fire safety legal framework following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London.  This resulted in legislation* being passed in January 2019 which will come into force in February 2022. The new legal requirements were originally due to come into force in February 2021, but in light of difficulties caused by COVID-19 the Scottish Parliament agreed to delay implementation for 12 months.  With only 5 months left, it is important for all homeowners to start taking any action needed to ensure compliance with the new requirements in time.  There is of course no need to wait until the deadline, and improved fire safety in our homes will undoubtedly be beneficial and in some cases life-saving.

Fire & smoke alarm rules for homes

house smoke alarm

All residential dwellings, whether owned or rented, will be required to have:

These alarms must be ceiling-mounted and interlinked.

A carbon monoxide detector is also required where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance (such as a boiler, fire or heater) or a flue.  This does not need to be linked to the fire alarms.

There are two types of alarms that comply with the new requirements:

1.    tamper-proof long-life lithium battery alarms, which can be fitted by individuals themselves; or

2.    mains-wired alarms, which are cheaper but should be installed by a qualified electrician and may require a building warrant for installation in a flat.

In tenements or blocks of flats, it is not necessary for individual properties to be linked to each other, and there is no requirement for alarms to be fitted in communal areas such as entrance halls and stairways.

The owner of the property is responsible for ensuring compliance, and Local Authorities have statutory powers to deal with properties that do not meet the tolerable standard.  Private tenants may be entitled to raise an action against their landlord at Tribunal for failure to comply.  It may be a condition of household insurance policies that the new standards are met.

How the new fire alarm law affects selling your home

Compliance with the new legal requirements will be important in the context of selling your property and will be covered in the Home Report which is made available to prospective purchasers.

Electricians and qualified trades companies will be able to advise in individual cases, and information from the Scottish Government with full details of the requirements, along with relevant questions and answers, can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Further Scottish Government information on fire safety can be found on the Safer Scotland Facebook page and on their ‘Fire safety for home owners‘ webpage.

If you are considering selling your property and would like to speak to one of our estate agency team, please do contact us at property@elpamsolicitors.co.uk or 0131 312 7276.

 *  The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (Tolerable Standard) (Extension of Criteria) Order 2019

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