London Fire Brigade

Tenants offered free alarms after landlords ‘ignore’ new law

11 February 2016

We are offering tenants in the capital's privately rented properties free smoke alarms because we fear some 'rogue' landlords are putting lives at risk by ignoring new laws.

From October last year it became law for private landlords to fit smoke alarms on each floor of their rental properties and carbon monoxide alarms in rooms containing solid fuel burners or face a £5,000 fine.

To help landlords meet the new regulations around smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, the Government made a limited number available for free from fire and rescue services, including London Fire Brigade.

The offer specifically targeted landlords in those areas most at risk from fire.

Landlords 'ignoring' alarm offer 

But we are concerned some rogue landlords in areas of the capital most at risk from fire are not only ignoring the new legislation, but also our free alarm offer, putting those vulnerable tenants in danger.

Since the offer was introduced for 'at risk' properties in July last year, only 4,266 privately rented homes that qualify for free alarms in London, have been allocated them.

Some of the capital's most at risk residents, such as the elderly and those with mobility and mental health issues – especially those who are smokers – live in privately rented accommodation and the new laws are designed to make it safer and save lives.

Private renters less likely to have working alarms

While overall smoke alarm ownership in the UK stands at around 90 per cent, those living in private rented homes are far less likely to have a working smoke alarm.

National statistics show people are four more times likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no smoke alarm and over the next ten years it is estimated the new laws will result in around 230 fewer deaths and nearly 6,000 less injuries.

Free alarm offer opened up to tenants

We are now calling on tenants living in private accommodation to apply for free alarms.

London Fire Brigade's Dave Brown, Director of Operations said: "Unfortunately the private rented sector is an area where some of the capital's more unscrupulous landlords operate and fire safety is not always top of their agenda.

"The properties they rent often don't contain vital safety features like fire doors and smoke alarms, and this can put lives at serious risk if a fire breaks out.

"Despite offering private landlords in London's most at risk areas free smoke alarms, very few have come forward to take us up on the offer.

"If you have already reminded your landlord about the new legislation and they still haven't provided you with alarms we would urge tenants to apply to the Brigade to see if they are eligible for them."

We have now expanded and extended our free alarm offer into 2016 in a bid to reach those people most vulnerable to fire.

Landlords renting properties in those at risk areas are still able to apply for alarms but our offer is now also open to the capital's most vulnerable tenants.

Local housing authorities are responsible for enforcing the new smoke and carbon monoxide alarm legislation.