Fire safety is of paramount importance and that’s why since 2003 it’s been mandatory to install smoke detectors on each floor of new residential buildings. This requirement will also apply to existing buildings from July next year. As a landlord, now is the time to assume responsibility and comply with this new rule.
Minister Knops intends to amend the Buildings Decree and make it mandatory for every home in the Netherlands to install a smoke detector on each floor. There must be at least one smoke detector along the escape route on each floor, i.e. in the hallway or landing. This rule will apply from 1 July 2022, which gives home owners plenty of time to prepare for the new rules and avoids problems relating to the delivery or availability of smoke detectors. The proposal will shortly be brought before the Lower House.
Until now, legally speaking fire prevention was a task for tenants. Morally it always made sense for landlords to provide sufficient fire prevention equipment for their rental properties, but from 1 July 2022 it becomes mandatory to install smoke detectors on the basis of the Buildings Decree. This obligation doesn’t cover fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors, although we advise landlords to provide these as well. Interhouse recommends that all landlords install the mandatory smoke detectors, if they aren’t already present in the property, on the next change of tenant. On fire safety we work together with First Response, a company specialising in fire prevention. You can seek advice and order smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors via this page.
Why are these detectors so important?
There are sound reasons behind this new requirement. The Netherlands Fire Service is just one party that recommended adopting this measure for existing buildings as well. An average of 31 people die in house fires in the Netherlands each year. Research shows that installing smoke detectors on each floor of every home could reduce this number to 18. Most victims die from smoke inhalation. The main reason for this is that our sense of smell doesn’t work that well while we’re asleep. Victims fail to wake up and are rendered unconscious by the highly toxic smoke.
In short: act now to improve fire safety before the 1 July deadline and make sure you comply with the new rule.