Smoke Alarms: Over 40% of houseshare tenants could still be at risk

New research by flat and house share site has suggested that there’s a worrying lack of awareness with regards to the changes in regulation about smoke alarms.

Related topics:  Landlords
Warren Lewis
3rd November 2015
smoke 2

A survey of tenants in shared accommodation carried out after 1 October, when the new rule kicked in, reveals that less than six in 10 (57%) are certain they have working smoke alarms in their homes.

One in seven (15%) of tenants surveyed since 1 October say they don’t have smoke alarms in their homes at all. Another 16% have alarms, but aren’t sure they are working, while 5% don’t know if there’s an alarm in their property.

But the responsibility for fire safety doesn’t just lie with landlords. The survey also showed that 7% of tenants have actually removed the batteries from their smoke detector, putting themselves at risk.

The table below shows the results of the tenants’ survey:

Flat and house sharers were asked: Do you have a smoke alarm in your house or flatshare? (1,060 responses)



Yes but I don’t know if it’s working


Yes but we’ve taken the batteries out




Don’t know


The new regulations will help prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year according to the Government, but current awareness among landlords is worryingly low. A separate poll of landlords by SpareRoom showed that almost half (49%) are not aware of this change in regulation.

Matt Hutchinson, director of, comments: “Fitting working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is now a legal requirement for landlords, yet half remain none the wiser. Professional landlords are the most likely to be clued up on this regulatory change, but the Government will have its work cut out to educate those who don’t already have working alarms in their properties to make them aware of the new rules.

However, fire safety isn’t just the landlord’s responsibility. The fact that 7% of tenants have taken the batteries out of their smoke alarm is a real worry. Tenants have to do their bit to keep themselves, their housemates, and the property, safe.”

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