Call to delay alarm rules for two years

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Age Scotland is calling for a two year extension – to February 2023 –  to the deadline for homeowners to install interlinked fire and smoke alarms, to give enough time for the 1.5 million homes across Scotland to comply with the Scottish Government’s rules.

The national charity for older people also believes that a significant financial support package is needed to support homeowners on low income who are unable to afford to meet the new requirements.

The requirement for interlinked fire and smoke alarms in owner-occupied homes was originally announced by the housing minister, Kevin Stewart MSP, in February 2019 with a deadline of February 1, 2021.

Following the public outcry in October about a lack of public awareness, the cost implications for people on low and fixed incomes, and concerns about the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on the availability of support with installation, the Scottish Government have sought to extend the deadline by one year to February 2021.

A recent survey by Age Scotland highlighted that homeowners were largely unaware of these rule changes – 82 per cent of respondents said that they became aware of the need to install interlinked fire and smoke alarms since October, three months from the original deadline.

A third of all respondents only became aware of the requirement when they read Age Scotland’s survey.

Brian Sloan,  Age Scotland’s chief executive, said: ‘There is no doubt that good home fire safety standards are vital, but it is clear from calls to our helpline and our recent survey that huge numbers of homeowners have been completely blindsided by the change in the law which requires them to install these new fire and smoke alarm systems.

‘Large numbers of homeowners still don’t think that they will have enough time to afford and undertake this work. Much of the information that has been made available by the Scottish Government has appeared since October and is online which has been less that helpful for the half million over 60s in Scotland who don’t use the internet.

‘It would make sense for the housing minister to reset the clock on this legislation and delay the deadline by two years. ‘