New smoke alarm rules for Scottish homeowners

Scotland has taken a step towards protecting all homeowners, tenants, and holiday home users by introducing a new law mandating the use of smoke alarms. As of February 1st 2022, it has now been made mandatory for every home in Scotland to have interlinked smoke alarms throughout the property.

The legislation has been on the horizon for some time and was originally brought in as a response to the Grenfell disaster. However, the Scottish government delayed implementing it until this year due to the Covid crisis and to give more people time to comply. Scotland is the first of the UK nations to make interlinked smoke alarms compulsory in every home, but the rest of the UK may look to follow suit.

New-build properties and privately rented homes have had to have interlinked smoke alarm systems for a decade. Now, all privately owned and rented accommodation must have the same, regardless of the property’s age. That includes holiday homes as well as permanent residences. So this legislation could significantly impact property owners who let out their holiday homes or even just use them for family holidays.

Why make it compulsory?

In 2020/21, more than 40 people were killed in house blazes in Scotland. The Fire Service estimates that around 30% of those fires started in the living room. An interlinked smoke alarm (where alarms are fitted throughout the property and sound simultaneously) could have prevented many of those fatalities. The cost of an interlinked system is around £220. For those who are struggling to pay for the installation, there is currently limited financial support available.

What is required?

The law is very specific on what’s required. As of February 1st 20, every home should have had in place:

  • One smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes
  • One smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings
  • One heat alarm installed in every kitchen

All alarms must be mounted on the ceiling and interlinked with one another, forming a complete circuit of alarms throughout the property. If a property has a carbon-fuelled appliance such as an open fire, log burner, boiler or flue, then they must also have a carbon monoxide detector installed. However, this doesn’t need to be interlinked to the smoke alarm system.

How will this affect holiday home lets?

The requirement for interlinked systems may affect some holiday homeowners who already have ‘stand-alone’ alarms throughout their Scottish property (but whose systems are not interlinked.) They will need to be upgraded to comply with the new legislation. It may affect your holiday home insurance.

To get holiday home cover, you need to adhere to the requirements set out by the provider. For holiday cottages, second homes and even chalets and static caravans that are let out, there is often already a requirement to have smoke alarms fitted. Now, you’ll need to check with your provider to see how the new law affects your policy, whether you’re updating or renewing or are applying for holiday home insurance for the first time.

How Intasure can help

At Intasure, we’ve been providing holiday home insurance for nearly two decades. We understand that legislation changes like the new Scottish smoke alarm law could be confusing. So our friendly team are here to help you ensure you’re in full compliance to keep your cover valid. We offer holiday home and second home cover to clients in more than 40 countries worldwide, including Scotland.

If you let out your holiday home in Scotland, it’s essential that you consider suitable of cover, including buildings and contents insurance, as well as public liability and even loss of rent following a claim. We’re here to answer your questions. Contact us today if you have any queries regarding your Scottish holiday home insurance.

Resource:

bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland

Policy limits and exclusions may apply, please see policy wording for full terms and conditions.

*The opinions and views expressed in the above articles are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The authors disclaim any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.