Legislation approved in 2010 comes into force on 8 March this year, which means that all residential properties in France must have at least one smoke alarm fitted.

To date, the French Ministry of Housing estimates that only 2% of some 33million homes across France currently have smoke alarms, leading to between 600 and 800 deaths in house blazes every year. In England, where 89% of homes have smoke alarms fitted, annual deaths reach about 250.

The new legislation calls for one battery-powered alarm to be installed in every home. There is no legal requirement relating to density of alarms or their placement within a building, though the recommendation is for one alarm per storey “solidly fixed to the highest point in the room”.

According to the new law, the landlord or property owner is responsible for the supply and installation of the alarm, except where there is a sitting tenant, in which case the landlord can either supply an alarm or refund the cost to the tenant if one has already been installed.