Author Topic: Tenants Maintaining Smoke Detectors  (Read 1301 times)

Offline Tadees

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Tenants Maintaining Smoke Detectors
« on: April 27, 2017, 10:33:48 AM »
A flat has a Grade D LD2 fire alarm system.  The tenant pays rent to a landlord, local authority or housing association.  The tenant undertakes the weekly test and the alarm does not sound.  My questions are as follows (forgive me if the questions are considered basic, but I am not sure of the answers):

1. Does the fact that the detector is mains powered mean the battery back-up should not fail as the battery is being charged continuously?
2. If the answer to this question is in that it should not fail, what is the purpose of the weekly test?
3. If a battery does need changing, whose responsibility is it legally to change the battery, the tenants or the landlord, LA or housing association?
4. I assume that in a Grade D LD2 system it is not easy to change the battery.  Therefore is it reasonable to expect the tenant to change it?
5. Is there a standard for battery replacement?  If so, what is that standard?
6. In a Grade F system, is the battery any easier to replace than in a Grade D system?
7. If the detector is replaced by the tenant in a Grade F system will the interlink still remain or does the replacement need to be undertaken by a competent person?
Some people are like clouds. When they disappear it's a brighter day.

Offline Owain

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Re: Tenants Maintaining Smoke Detectors
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2017, 04:13:49 PM »
A flat has a Grade D LD2 fire alarm system.  The tenant pays rent to a landlord, local authority or housing association.  The tenant undertakes the weekly test and the alarm does not sound.  My questions are as follows (forgive me if the questions are considered basic, but I am not sure of the answers):

1. Does the fact that the detector is mains powered mean the battery back-up should not fail as the battery is being charged continuously?
2. If the answer to this question is in that it should not fail, what is the purpose of the weekly test?
3. If a battery does need changing, whose responsibility is it legally to change the battery, the tenants or the landlord, LA or housing association?
4. I assume that in a Grade D LD2 system it is not easy to change the battery.  Therefore is it reasonable to expect the tenant to change it?
5. Is there a standard for battery replacement?  If so, what is that standard?
6. In a Grade F system, is the battery any easier to replace than in a Grade D system?
7. If the detector is replaced by the tenant in a Grade F system will the interlink still remain or does the replacement need to be undertaken by a competent person?

1. Not all detectors have rechargeable battery back-up; some have alkaline batteries which should last 5 years. The detector should beep if the battery fails.

2. The purpose of the weekly test is to test the internal circuits of the detector by simulating an alarm condition.

3. Batteries would usually be regarded as consumables and so the tenant's responsibility, but if there is a requirement on the landlord to maintain the alarm system (such as in a licenced HMO) then the landlord is responsible

4. It may be reasonable to expect the tenant to change it; it may not. If the tenant is elderly, disabled, stupid, or the property has high ceilings so the detector is above step-ladder height then it is not reasonable to assume the tenant changes the battery. It is not difficult to change the battery, but it is beyond the capabilities of many people.

5. The manufacturer's instructions will state the type of battery required.

6. Somewhat, in that in Grade D the instructions usually refer to turning off the power before removing the detector from the base to change the battery. However Grade F (battery only) detectors are unsatisfactory as the batteries are so often removed and they don't meet any regulations for new installation or for HMO licenced property.

Quote
Single story tenanted properties were allowed in the last version (2004) of this standard to be fitted with Grade F alarms. This has now been changed to a grade D requirement. As an aside, landlords have now been found liable in cases where tenants themselves have disabled an alarm. For this reason, it is unlikely that landlords will be able to trust tenants to adequately look after a smoke alarm. The Code highlights the fact that battery powered smoke alarms are also only suitable for owner-occupied properties if the likelihood is, that batteries will be replaced within five days of a low battery signal.
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Offline Tadees

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Re: Tenants Maintaining Smoke Detectors
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2017, 04:48:48 PM »
A flat has a Grade D LD2 fire alarm system.  The tenant pays rent to a landlord, local authority or housing association.  The tenant undertakes the weekly test and the alarm does not sound.  My questions are as follows (forgive me if the questions are considered basic, but I am not sure of the answers):

1. Does the fact that the detector is mains powered mean the battery back-up should not fail as the battery is being charged continuously?
2. If the answer to this question is in that it should not fail, what is the purpose of the weekly test?
3. If a battery does need changing, whose responsibility is it legally to change the battery, the tenants or the landlord, LA or housing association?
4. I assume that in a Grade D LD2 system it is not easy to change the battery.  Therefore is it reasonable to expect the tenant to change it?
5. Is there a standard for battery replacement?  If so, what is that standard?
6. In a Grade F system, is the battery any easier to replace than in a Grade D system?
7. If the detector is replaced by the tenant in a Grade F system will the interlink still remain or does the replacement need to be undertaken by a competent person?

1. Not all detectors have rechargeable battery back-up; some have alkaline batteries which should last 5 years. The detector should beep if the battery fails.

2. The purpose of the weekly test is to test the internal circuits of the detector by simulating an alarm condition.

3. Batteries would usually be regarded as consumables and so the tenant's responsibility, but if there is a requirement on the landlord to maintain the alarm system (such as in a licenced HMO) then the landlord is responsible

4. It may be reasonable to expect the tenant to change it; it may not. If the tenant is elderly, disabled, stupid, or the property has high ceilings so the detector is above step-ladder height then it is not reasonable to assume the tenant changes the battery. It is not difficult to change the battery, but it is beyond the capabilities of many people.

5. The manufacturer's instructions will state the type of battery required.

6. Somewhat, in that in Grade D the instructions usually refer to turning off the power before removing the detector from the base to change the battery. However Grade F (battery only) detectors are unsatisfactory as the batteries are so often removed and they don't meet any regulations for new installation or for HMO licenced property.

Quote
Single story tenanted properties were allowed in the last version (2004) of this standard to be fitted with Grade F alarms. This has now been changed to a grade D requirement. As an aside, landlords have now been found liable in cases where tenants themselves have disabled an alarm. For this reason, it is unlikely that landlords will be able to trust tenants to adequately look after a smoke alarm. The Code highlights the fact that battery powered smoke alarms are also only suitable for owner-occupied properties if the likelihood is, that batteries will be replaced within five days of a low battery signal.
Safelinks

Thanks much appreciated
Some people are like clouds. When they disappear it's a brighter day.