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What are the risks of not complying with smoke detector requirements?

It is time to install fire detectors in your home if you have not already done so. Since January 1, 2023, they are mandatory in all residential homes in Luxembourg. Apart from the danger to your life or property, are you aware of the legal consequences of not complying with this obligation? Here is some information on this subject.

Détecteur incendie

Luxembourg has followed the trend of its neighboring countries. In Wallonia, smoke detectors were mandatory since 2006, while France followed suit in 2015 and Germany in 2016. In Luxembourg, the law came into effect on January 1, 2020 for new construction, with a three-year deadline for existing homes to comply with the regulation. This deadline having expired, it is now mandatory for all homes to be equipped with smoke detectors since January 1, 2023.

Smoke detectors have a major advantage: they are inexpensive and can save lives! Indeed, the greatest danger during a fire is not so much the flames as the smoke that can kill silently, especially during sleep. In Luxembourg, one person dies every year from smoke inhalation poisoning. In neighboring countries, it is estimated that fire detectors can reduce the number of victims by 25%.

Reminder of the main rules to follow for owners and tenants

Owners (or co-owners) are responsible for installing smoke detectors, while occupants are responsible for maintaining them (by regularly checking that they are working properly and replacing dead batteries).

  • Smoke detectors must comply with the European standard EN 14604 and bear the CE mark, which must be clearly visible on the device.

  • They must be installed on the ceiling or, failing that, as high as possible, preferably towards the center of the room.

  • Each room must be equipped with at least one detector, as well as all evacuation routes such as stairwells, corridors and halls, allowing exit from the dwelling in case of emergency.

Although it is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that smoke detectors be installed in other rooms in the home, such as the laundry room, office, living room or boiler room. However, it is not recommended that they be installed in the garage, kitchen or bathroom, as cooking fumes or water vapors can set off the device unexpectedly.

For more information on the installation of smoke detectors, you can visit the website

What are the consequences of not complying with these obligations?

Although the installation of fire detectors is now mandatory by law, there are no fines for non-compliance.

It is important to know that, contrary to popular belief, your home insurance company cannot deny you compensation under the pretext that you have not installed smoke detectors. In fact, the law regarding smoke detectors prohibits any forfeiture clause in a fire warranty.

If a fire occurs in your home and results in property damage or injury to a third party, you could be held civilly and criminally liable if you have not installed smoke detectors in accordance with legal requirements.

It is important to note that your criminal liability cannot be covered by insurance. Therefore, if a fire breaks out in your home and causes property damage or human injury to others, you could be prosecuted in criminal court and fined or imprisoned for manslaughter if injuries or deaths are caused by your negligence. In addition, the victims or their heirs may claim compensation for moral and/or material damages against you.

In sum, it is crucial to equip yourself with fire detectors because they can indeed be the key to saving lives in the event of a fire. The law is only a reminder of their vital importance. It is therefore strongly recommended not to wait for a tragedy to occur to become aware of their usefulness, and to take the necessary measures to prevent the risks now.



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