Rachael Hamilton MSP and John Lamont MP have urged the Scottish Government to delay the regulations on interlinked fire alarms in private dwellings.
It comes after Scottish Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour quizzed the Cabinet Secretary for Housing Holyrood, on the practicalities of rolling out the new fire alarm systems with surging Covid cases.
From February, all homeowners will be required to have interlinked alarms under legislation brought forward after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.
It has emerged that failing to comply with this change on time could result in home insurance policies across Scotland being invalidated, leaving people unable to claim.
Both Mrs Hamilton and Mr Lamont raised a number of these concerns last year, and successfully campaigned for the implementation of regulations to be delayed by one year to February 2022.
But they are concerned many of the same mistakes are being repeated again this year, and too many individuals are learning of this change in the law at a late stage.
On top of this, they have warned that the Scottish Government have carried out no assessment of how many households will fall foul of this new legislation.
As it stands, financial support to install the required equipment will only be available to those in receipt of pension credit or with a property in Council Tax band A.
Both Borders parliamentarians believe that with Covid cases rises once again, it is inappropriate that these regulations are coming into force, and people should be given more time to comply.
Rachael Hamilton MSP said:
“We support the measures coming into place that aim to protect homeowners and tenants by increasing the fire safety of homes across Scotland.
“But while I support measures to improve safety, I am very concerned by this change in the law which has been introduced with very little publicity and could cost families hundreds of pounds at very short notice when I know finances are tight.
“Now is not the time, with Covid cases surging and household budgets tightening, for this pressure to be placed on people.
“There needs to be more flexibility on installation timescales and reassurances from the SNP Government that there is an adequate supply of these alarms in the first place.
“I do not believe these regulations are appropriate at this time, and their start date should at least be postponed”.
John Lamont MP said:
“With shortages in global supplies of semiconductors and people who may be wary of having people in their homes doing work due to the rise in Omicron, the Scottish Government should delay the introduction of this law as they did last year.
“Fire safety is obviously a very important issue, and moves to improve it are welcome.
“However, people need to be given a realistic timeline to make these changes, especially those who are more vulnerable to Covid-19 and might be uncomfortable with having people in their home to do the installation.
“Having people worrying about their home breaking a law is too much on top of everything else they will be worrying about right now.=
“It is a reasonable ask for this to be delayed again in light of the pandemic. I hope the Scottish Government can agree.”