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A number of constituents have contacted me about the changes to smoke alarms. Every home in Scotland must have interlinked fire alarms by February 2022. Interlinked means if one goes off, they all go off, so you will always hear an alarm wherever you are in your home. The new law has come about because of the Grenfell fire in London in 2017, and it applies to all Scottish homes.

If you are a tenant in a housing association – or rent privately - you don’t need to do anything, your landlord will install the alarms.

If you own your own home, you will need to install alarms. Most homeowners want to make their homes as safe as possible and compliance will in time form part of any Home Report when you come to sell your home. You may also wish to check with your house insurance as they may require you to have these alarms.

As this will be a minimum standard for safe houses, local authorities will be able to use their statutory powers to require owners to carry out work on substandard housing. However, as is the case for other elements of the Tolerable Standard, any intervention must be proportionate, rational and reasonable and where owners are unable to meet the standard, it is not a criminal offence.

On 5th January, the First minister also confirmed this in Parliament saying, “There is a requirement for home owners to install alarms by 1 February, but there is also flexibility for home owners who are unable to do it by that date. Mains-wired alarms can be fitted by an electrician, or longer-life battery alarms can be fitted by residents themselves. The important thing is that nobody will be breaking the law or criminalised if they need more time; there are no penalties for non-compliance.”

There is a factsheet about the changes at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/fire-and-smoke-alarms-in-scottish-homes/

There is also more information and examples – as well as advice if your landlord has not installed alarms – at:

https://www.mygov.scot/home-fire-safety

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