Smoke alarms taped up in rented property

I'm absolutely... well, I don't know what I am but I'm asking for advice if there's anything I can do because I don't know if there is! 

My partner lives with his parents in a first floor, privately rented flat (in England, for the purposes of relevant law.) The flat is relatively small, and has two smoke alarms situated at either end of the hallway, which runs centrally through the flat. One is next to the open plan kitchen, and was going off regularly when cooking/toasting/etc. The other is outside the living room and two bedrooms. 

I smelt something burning earlier whilst his dad was cooking when we were in the kitchen, and said I wondered if it would set off the smoke alarm. "No chance of that," his dad said, and explained that he'd TAPED UP BOTH OF THE SMOKE ALARMS A WHILE AGO. I was literally speechless. There is not one of them who seems to find it even a little bit concerning. I should also add that my partner's parents are both in their 70s, smoke, and are prone to cooking whilst less-than-sober which was regularly setting off the alarms!

I'm just aghast at this. This is 3 people living in a tiny flat, so there's not even the buffer of a potential fire breaking out and it being contained within a room... If this happened, smoke would take over the entire place in minutes.

I'm about to have a chat with my partner, but apart from that, what can I do? I'm very close to them but his parents are very stubborn and I can see it being an uphill struggle to get them to do anything. 
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Comments

  • Mr.Generous
    Mr.Generous Posts: 3,368 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    But seriously, look at an optical smoke alarm - one of the toast proof jobs, it wont go off with just a smidge of smoke, needs a fair cloud to activate.
  • i'd imagine if its a rented property they are breaching the terms of their lease by doing that, also probably invalidating any insurance on the property. Maybe your partner needs to talk to them about the seriousness of it?
  • But seriously, look at an optical smoke alarm - one of the toast proof jobs, it wont go off with just a smidge of smoke, needs a fair cloud to activate.
    I've never heard of these, just Googled and they sound ideal. I'll suggest these, though not sure if they'd need to consult the landlord about changing them 🤔
  • i'd imagine if its a rented property they are breaching the terms of their lease by doing that, also probably invalidating any insurance on the property. Maybe your partner needs to talk to them about the seriousness of it?
    I'd not even thought of this. I talked to my partner last night, and he saw how worried I was and untaped both alarms. His parents haven't noticed yet so that's going to be a fun discussion when they do. 
  • HRH_MUngo
    HRH_MUngo Posts: 877 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 29 October 2022 at 4:33PM
    I have an alarm in my kitchen (I think it is  heat alarm) - installed by the electrician when the bungalow was rewired.  It has only ever gone off a couple of times, when we have burnt something.  I also have a smoke alarm in the hall.  I have CO (Carbon Monoxide) alarms in the living room (where there is a woodburning stove), the kitchen (where there is a second woodburner) and between the bedrooms to make sure we can hear if they go off.  I am quite anal about these things as I do not want to be burnt or suffocated to death.

    I don't understand how people can be so blase as your in-laws.  Just get the right alarm and it will not go off unless it has to.

    Suitable for kitchen, see below:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Operated-Isafenest-Photoelectric-Intelligent-Auto-Check/dp/B084KTRZCG/ref=sr_1_5?adgrpid=54215545638&gclid=Cj0KCQjwnvOaBhDTARIsAJf8eVOH_PtAJ7JSiopX0PZWQyYnpjDuzU9fLQS5fwWwjjxejpRCSruiOUAaAgvLEALw_wcB&hvadid=259102979416&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=1007249&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=6326427082249747316&hvtargid=kwd-297165833239&hydadcr=28184_1821140&keywords=photoelectric+smoke+detector&qid=1667057492&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIyLjUwIiwicXNhIjoiMS43NSIsInFzcCI6IjEuNTAifQ==&sr=8-5&th=1
    I used to be seven-day-weekend
  • cymruchris
    cymruchris Posts: 5,188 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    I second having a heat alarm in the kitchen, and smokes anywhere else. You'll likely find though that the existing system could be plumbed into the mains electric, with a built in battery backup - so it may not be as easy as just taking down one, and putting up another. It might be worthwhile to contact the landlord to ask about the possibility of changing the kitchen area detector to a heat alarm, as it's going off every time they cook, and potentially volunteering to contributing to the cost of doing so - that way those living in the flat would be safer, and the insurance and landlord would be happy too. 
    An ex-bankrupt on a journey of recovery. Feel free to send me a DM reference credit building credit cards from the usual suspects :) Happy to help others going through what I've been through!
  • Rodders53
    Rodders53 Posts: 2,147 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    PLEASE DO NOT BUY random unknown brands of fire alarm... such as that linked one.  This safety item is not a thing to skimp on.

    We need to know the current make and model of alarm and the dates on them.  The information is usually on the sides of the alarm units.   They may well be mains interlinked alarms (probably should be);  although long life sealed for life battery interlinked units are also acceptable.  That info will inform us if they are due replacement anyway and what type they currently are.

    Rules have changed recently for rentals in England:  https://www.safelincs.co.uk/england-2022-landlord-regulation-smoke-heat-co-carbon-monoxide-alarms/

    Scottish alarm requirements are even more stringent and apply to owner-occupiers as well as rented.
  • HRH_MUngo
    HRH_MUngo Posts: 877 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 29 October 2022 at 5:22PM
    Sorry I didn't realise the one in my link was an unbranded one.  I had been looking at Safelincs and thought I still was!  

    I agree with the post, buy a good branded one (assuming they are not linked together).
    I used to be seven-day-weekend
  • Thankyou both. I'll have a look when I can to see what make/model they are.

    @HRH_MUngo no, I can't believe they're fine with the alarms being taped up. My concern is that my partner's dad will notice and immediately tape them back up. To them it's an inconvenience. To me it's an encyclopedia of horrible scenarios, the least worse being a small fire breaks out, causes minor damage which the landlord sees and tries to claim on his insurance through to everyone dying in the night.

    I'm especially worried as the kitchen is right next to the door to the stairs, so if anything goes up in the kitchen, the stairs would very quickly be impossible to get to (think I mentioned it's a first floor flat.) Dad's a little not always sure what's going on, so it's perfectly feasible a fire could break out and he wouldn't realise in time. 
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