Insulation and smoke alarms in rental houses

If you are thinking about renting a house, two recent changes to the law may affect you. One lets you know how well insulated the house is. The other helps protect you and your family from the danger of fire.


Landlords must now include an insulation statement as part of any new tenancy agreement. The statement tells you whether the home is insulated. It also tells you the type of insulation, where it is and what condition it is in.

A landlord who does not make a complete insulation statement or includes anything they know to be false or misleading can be fined.

A cold, damp, poorly insulated home will be expensive to heat and may affect the health of your family. Make sure you consider the insulation statement when deciding whether the house you are looking at is the right one for you.

Smoke alarms

Many fire-related deaths happen at night when people are sleeping and do not smell the smoke. Working smoke alarms are the best way to make sure you and your family get an early warning of a fire so you can get out alive.

Every rented house must now have smoke alarms. In older houses, these may be smoke alarms that are powered by batteries. In newer houses, the smoke alarms are likely to be connected to the mains power (household electricity).

Smoke alarms must be fitted in each bedroom or within 3 metres of each bedroom door. They must also be fitted in any self-contained caravan, sleep-out or similar building.

Both you and your landlord are responsible for keeping the smoke alarms working.

Your landlord must make sure the smoke alarms:

  • are always in good working order
  • are working when you begin renting the property, including having working batteries.

If the smoke alarms use replaceable batteries, it is up to you to replace the batteries if they expire during your tenancy.

It is against the law to damage, remove or disconnect the smoke alarms. This includes removing the batteries, unless it is to immediately replace expired batteries. If you do damage, remove or disconnect a smoke alarm, you can be fined.

If there are any problems with the smoke alarms, you must let your landlord know as soon as possible.

Warmer, drier, safer homes

Tenancy Services can tell you about your rights and responsibilities as a landlord or tenant. It also offers guidance on dealing with common tenancy issues.

Information on Tenancy Services

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