Holiday Home and Gite Owners Must Comply With New Smoke Alarm Rules by 2015 renting out gites and bed and breakfast owners in Normandy as well as ordinary property owners are being reminded that it will be a legal requirement to have at least one working smoke detector in all buildings in France.

It is up to the owner of the property to make sure that a smoke detector is installed and working properly with a deadline of 2015 being approved by the French government. Owners of holiday rentals are also responsible for making sure all their buildings meet the requirements.

The law was introduced last month after the French government found that only 2% of homes were fitted with smoke detectors, one of the lowest rates in the European Union and much less than the 89% of homes in the UK where smoke alarms have been a legal requirement since 1997.

Officials say that smoke inhalation kills more people than fires do so early detection can prevent lives being lost. Domestic fires are also more common in France than in the UK and it is estimated that a third of domestic fires in France originate from electrical problems and 800 people die every year.

It is likely that insurance companies will start to check with policy holders to make sure they comply with the new rules and failing to do so could make house insurance invalid. It is likely that insurance companies will charge an excess of €5,000 in the event of a fire.

‘Smoke alarms will save the lives of hundreds of people every year,’ said UMP deputy Damien Meslot, who has been campaigning for the law since 2005. A law to make them compulsory was passed last year but was ruled unconstitutional. A revised version has now been approved by MPs.

Home owners are also being urged to check the reliability of any smoke alarms after consumer magazine 60 Millions des Consommateurs found six of the eight most popular models failed to detect fires or detected them too late.

About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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