Smoke detectors must be fitted before 8th March 2015

smoke detectors

A new law came into effect on 8th March 2015 which states that all properties in France must have at least one smoke detector fitted.

If you are the owner of a property in France, whether it is a permanent home or you let it out, you must ensure there is a properly functioning independent smoke alarm (DAAF Détecteur avertisseur autonome de fumée) fitted that complies with the NF EN14604 or CE EN14604 norms. Independent means it should either be powered by battery or if from the mains electricity supply that it has a battery option so that it still works if there is no electricity.

The owner of the property (main residence, second home, holiday letting) is responsible not only for fitting the detector but for its regular maintenance and testing. If the property is let out on a long term rental then the tenant is responsible for its maintenance and testing after the owner has fitted it. It should be regularly checked to ensure the sensor is working properly - CE-accredited detectors are fitted with a 'test' button for this purpose.

The ministry has brought this law into force because there are around 600-800 deaths each year in house fires, 70% of which happen at night when people are sleeping. Unfortunately, the smell of smoke does not wake you up, in fact quite the opposite as the fumes actually plunge you into a deeper sleep, and with as little as 1% of carbon monoxide in the air you can be dead within 15 minutes.

Although the law is for a minimum of one detector per property, you should use your judgement as to whether your property requires more. They should be installed in a corridor or hallway leading to rooms that are used regularly and must be loud enough to wake up someone sleeping. The sensor should be fitted to the ceiling or at the top of a wall, away from a source of smoke.

Failure to comply will result in penalties and non-payment of insurance claims in the case of fire.

So, for the relatively low cost of a detector (around 10-20€), and the consequences of not complying, it seems eminently sensible if merely for your own safety and peace of mind.

smoke detectors