Smoke alarm installations to be mandatory

The government said the measure, which is expected to take effect from October 2015, should help prevent 36 deaths and 1,375 injuries per year.

Lewis said: “The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.

“But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.”

Just 8% of tenants had smoke alarms in 1988, but that figure has now risen to over 90%.

Landlords must install smoke alarms on every floor of their property and test them at the start of every tenancy.

They will also have to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those with a solid fuel heating system.

Those who fail to install alarms will face sanctions, including a £5,000 civil penalty.

Stephen Williams, communities minister, said: “We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning.

“People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.

“That’s why we are proposing changes to the law that would require landlords to install working smoke alarms in their properties so tenants can give their families and those they care about a better chance of escaping a fire.”