203Private landlords in County Durham are being advised of new rules relating to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

From 1 October 2015 landlords of private-rented properties must ensure at least one smoke alarm is installed on every storey used as living accommodation.

The Government regulations, which are aimed at reducing the risks of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, also stipulate that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room used as living space where solid fuel is used.

It is estimated that the changes will save 26 lives and prevent nearly 700 injuries every year.

Landlords and landlord associations should already be aware of the new requirements. However, Durham County Council, which will enforce the rules, is urging landlords to make sure they comply with the regulations before they come into effect as no grace period will be given.

Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “Fire and carbon monoxide poisoning can have a devastating effect on people’s lives so these new regulations are crucial to protecting tenants in private-rented properties.

“Early detection can reduce the risk so we would encourage any tenants with concerns about fire safety or the possibility of carbon monoxide to contact us.”

Any landlord or agent who fails to follow the new rules will be ordered to install the alarms within 28 days. If the work still has not been done a fixed penalty notice will be issued as well as a fine and associated costs.

Tenants with any concerns about fire safety or carbon monoxide can contact the council on 03000 261 016.