Smoke alarm law delayed to 2022

The Scottish Government’s decision to delay new fire safety laws by 12 months after a backlash by homeowners has been welcomed by local politicians.

By Kevin Janiak
Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 12:28 pm
The new smoke alarm laws will now come into force in 2022.
The new smoke alarm laws will now come into force in 2022.

New legislation set out that every home had to be set up to the new standards – including a smoke alarm in the living room and in circulation spaces such as hallways and landings; a heat alarm in every kitchen; a carbon monoxide alarm where there are fixed combustion appliances such as boilers and wood burners; and all alarms ceiling mounted and interlinked – all by February 2021.

The Scottish Government has now moved that deadline to 2022.

The new rules mean the standard which currently applies to private rented property and new-builds is being extended to all homes in Scotland, expected to cost households around £220 ... more if an electrician is required to do the work.

The Scottish Government website says that ‘any costs will be the responsibility of homeowners and landlords.’

John Lamont MP said: “This is a common sense decision and I am glad the Scottish Government has listened to my concerns.

“People were rightly anxious about complying with these new rules given the current coronavirus situation.

“Lots of people would require help from a tradesperson to install new alarms and they were understandably concerned about having someone in their home.

“This is not to mention the additional costs this would have put on family budgets during this time of uncertainty.

“We now need to see a comprehensive awareness campaign that reaches all generations to help people prepare for the changes now coming in 2022.

“Communications have been so bad that a number of local residents were convinced it was a scam.”

Rachael Hamilton MSP added: “We must make sure our homes are safe but homeowners and landlords were given less than four months to install the alarms and other devices.

“This caused widespread panic amongst my constituents, and it is simply unacceptable to have such poor communication from the SNP Government over something so important.

“I am glad the First Minister has realised the timetable was unfeasible for these regulations coming into force and has U-turned.”

SNP MSP Christine Grahame said that the Scottish Government has made over £15m of loan funding available for social landlords to procure and install the necessary alarms which should help ensure that social tenants are safe in their homes, and that it has also provided additional funding of £870,000 in each year for the last two years to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to support their home safety visits for vulnerable and high-risk people.

She added: ““Fire safety is an absolute priority for all of us, and these improved regulations will mean that everyone in the Borders will benefit from the same level of protection, whether they own their home or rent from a social or private landlord.

“However, given the impact of Covid-19, and the difficulties this legislation was likely to cause for people seeking to install new alarms, it’s welcome that the Scottish Government has listened to concerns and decided to ask the Scottish Parliament to delay the deadline by 12 months.

“I will continue to look closely at ensuring people have the support, information and advice they need to make changes in advance of the new standards coming into force in February 2022.”