Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: what landlords need to know


A landlord in north-west London is under investigation after two tenants died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at the property, which was also an unlicensed HMO. The news brings to the fore the vital need for landlords to know the rules about property safety.

Harrow Council is investigating the landlord of the property in Edgware where the two inhabitants died, while five other occupants were also taken to hospital with alleged carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty boiler.

Two separate Romanian families shared the house, which was one of a number of properties rented out by the landlord, but the home did not have the correct HMO (houses in multiple occupation) licence to operate.

The rules around safety in rental properties

By law, carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in rooms where there is a solid fuel appliance, which includes log and coal burning stoves and open fires, whether they are in use or could be used. Meanwhile, smoke alarms in working order must be fitted on each storey of a residential premises where a room is used wholly or partly as living accommodation.

Contrary to popular belief, as gas is not a solid fuel, it is not a legal requirement to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted near a has boiler, although it is advisable for added safety.

Where the property is a licensed HMO, the licence-holder must ensure that all mandatory conditions in relation to alarms are complied with.

Exceptions include where the landlord or landlord’s relative lives in the premises and shares a toilet, washing facilities, a kitchen or living room; a long lease tenancy which grants right of occupation; student halls of residence; hostels; care homes; hospitals; healthcare accommodation.

Landlords must carry out checks on all alarms on the day a new tenancy begins to ensure they are all in working order, and take action if there are any issues.

What about HMO licences?

An HMO is classed as a property rented out by at least three people who are not part of the same household (or family) but share facilities such as the bathroom and kitchen. Such properties only need licences under certain circumstances, such as if they fall under a selective licensing area.

Large HMOs, which are currently classed as those that are rented to five or more people from more than one household, are at least three storeys high, and have shared facilities including bathroom and kitchen, require a licence to operate. However, the rules around HMOs are set to change in October this year – you can read more about this here.

Licence applications and more information can be found on the government’s website.

CityGreens, Solihull, Birmingham

City-style apartments directly on Birmingham's largest park

  • Limited pre-launch prices.
  • ZERO ground rent
  • Excellent tenant demand

£182,000 - £419,000

Highgrove Mews

High Net Yield Freehold Houses

  • Commutable to London (27 mins to central Paddington station)
  • Rental demand extremely strong with large industry presence in Reading
  • Freehold with 4% net yield

£284,955 - £457,000

St Petersgate – Stockport Manchester

New Launch - Stockport Manchester, apartments from £160,000

  • Discounted launch prices from £160,000
  • Excellent transport links with 3 trains per hour to London Euston and only 9 mins journey to Manchester Piccadilly
  • Experienced development team

Assured Rent Housing Association Leases

Assured Rent Housing Association Leases

  • Assured rent & no rental voids
  • Tenant damage cover & newly refurbished inline with requirements of a corporate sitting tenant
  • Free property and lettings management

From £62,000

Emerging Birmingham Commuter Town With Properties From Just £104,000

The emerging Birmingham commuter town where properties are selling in an average of just 24 days

  • A collection of 62 two bedroom apartments and 28 one bedroom apartments.
  • DE14 is one of the fastest selling postcodes in the West Midlands.
  • 23 minute train journey into Birmingham New Street Station.

Properties from £104,000

Mill, Stockport

The Northwest's emerging property hotspot

  • Discounted off-plan 2-bed prices from £162,000
  • Completion date - Q4 2021
  • Rental yields - 6% plus

Discounted off-plan 2-bed prices from £162,000


Talk to us

Speak to our UK property experts today: 

+44 (0) 333 123 0320

Open from 9am-6pm GMT

+852 9865 4446

Open from 9am-6pm HKT

Stamp Duty Calculator


Unlock members only investment opportunities and full development details. Join now – it’s free, quick and easy.


Not a member? Sign up for free

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: what landlords need to know

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: what landlords need to know


By submitting your details via this online form you agree to be contacted via email/phone/SMS by Direct Marketplace Ltd t/a BuyAssociation in relation to property investment and property developments . We do not share your personal details with third parties.  To view our full Privacy Policy click here.