Carbon monoxide detection

Supporting information for Scottish Landlord Registration

Key points

Landlords are required to install carbon monoxide detectors to be fitted where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance (such as boilers, fires (including open fires), heaters and stoves) or a flue. These requirements are part of the Repairing Standard and are regardless of when the tenancy started and what previous requirements have already been met.

In order to comply with the Repairing Standard landlords must ensure that a detection system is installed in all dwellings they rent to tenants where there is:

  • a fixed combustion appliance (excluding an appliance used solely for cooking)
    in the dwelling or
  • a fixed combustion appliance in an inter-connected space, for example, an
    integral garage
  • a combustion appliance necessarily located in a bathroom (advice would be
    to locate it elsewhere) – the CO detector should be sited outside the room as
    close to the appliance as possible but allowing for the effect humid air might

CO detectors should be powered by a battery designed to operate for the working life of the detector which is usually between five and seven years. The detector should incorporate a warning device to alert the users when its working life is due to expire and should be replaced on or before the expiry date.

Hard wired mains operated CO detectors with fixed wiring (not plug in types) may be used as an alternative, provided they are fitted with a sensor failure warning device. CO detectors must comply with BS EN 50291-1:2010+A1:2012 2 and, where hard-wired or wireless installations are adopted, applicable European directives. Landlords should always check the Housing & Property Chamber, First-tier Tribunal website for the most recent guidance on requirements.

Further context

The installation of CO detectors is intended to reduce the risk of CO poisoning and the consequent loss of life and serious injury. The Repairing Standard sets a high benchmark for CO detection, matching the standard required for new building.
A carbon monoxide detector should not be sited:

  • in an enclosed space (for example in a cupboard or behind a curtain)
  • where it can be obstructed (for example by furniture)
  • directly above a sink
  • next to a door or window
  • next to an extractor fan
  • next to an air vent or similar ventilation opening
  • in an area where the temperature may drop below -10°C or exceed 40°C, unless the detector is designed to do so
  • where dirt and dust may block the sensor
  • in a damp or humid location or
  • in the immediate vicinity of a cooking appliance

Landlords should always refer to Scottish Government Statutory Guidance for the Provision of Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Private Rented Housing when installing, maintaining or repairing CO detectors. The guidance gives details of the correct positioning of detectors. Landlords should bear in mind that there are additional standards that may need to be met if the property is licensed by the local authority as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Tenants have a right to refer any landlord not complying with the carbon monoxide duty or any other element of the repairing standard to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber.

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