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Carbon Monoxide detector laws tightened in Scotland

Laws relating to carbon monoxide detectors in private rented accommodation have been tightened up in Scotland. 

As from 1st December 2015, Scottish landlords are required to install a CO detector in every space containing a fixed combustion appliance.  In their Statutory Guidance the Scottish Government advise landlords that “combustion appliances such as boilers, fires, heaters and stoves fuelled by solid fuel, oil or gas all have the potential to cause CO poisoning if they are poorly installed or commissioned, inadequately maintained or incorrectly used.”

Currently, in England, under legislation brought into effect on 1st October 2015, landlords are required to have a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g a wood burning stove). It is not a legal requirement for landlords to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in a room with gas burning appliances, although this is always recommended as best practice.

There have already been several prosecutions in England since the recent regulations came into force, with negligent landlords liable for a fine of up to £5,000, not to mention hefty legal fees. 

With potential for England and Wales to follow Scotland’s lead in the future, it’s more important than ever that landlords and installers know their duties and keep up to speed with gas safety issues affecting their residents and clients. 

Practical guide to new Scottish CO legislation:

  • It encompasses all rented accommodation, and all combustion appliances (excluding appliances used solely for cooking).
  • Batteries must be changed for life long batteries.
  • Detectors should be in each room, away from windows, corners and confined spaces.
  • There should be a distance of 1 – 3 metres between an appliance and a detector.
  • For appliances in cupboards, detectors should be situated outside the cupboard.
  • If an appliance is in the attic, e.g boiler, detectors should be situated inside the attic and outside the hatch.  Consider interlinked detectors.
  • It is the landlord’s responsibility for maintaining and replacing CO detectors.

We offer a range of gas safety awareness courses for landlords, building managers and the staff tasked with checking safety appliance safety, covering both private and social housing properties.  For more information click on the links below.


For general rented accommodation:

Gas safety awareness in residential premises

Gas safety management in residential premises


For social housing:

Gas safety awareness in social housing

Gas safety management in social housing


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