SCOTS householders face a house insurance crisis with under four months to have linked fire and smoke alarm systems at a cost of at least £220.

It has been confirmed that insurance policies could be void if Scots do not comply with the law.

Both Age Scotland and Scottish Conservative Party leader Douglas Ross have called on the Scottish Government to delay the move.

The Scottish Government has confirmed it is considering a delay.

Under the terms of the new rules, published by the Scottish Government last week, Scottish homeowners must have a ceiling-mounted smoke alarm in their living room, hallways and landings and a heat alarm in every kitchen. The alarm system must be interlinked.

And carbon monoxide alarms should be fitted where there is a fuel burning appliance or a flue.

Age Scotland has been bombarded with concerns from worried older people who are worried about the short notice and how they can comply with under the current coronavirus restrictions over people coming into a house.

They have called for a delay in the deadline saying that there are "considerable concerns" over affordability and that there is an increased risk of scams.

The legislation was first mooted as a result of recent fire tragedies, including Grenfell and covers all homes, both in the private and social housing sectors.

The fire which destroyed Grenfell Tower in June 2017 was one of the UK's worst modern disasters and 72 people died.

READ MORE: 'Absolutely staggering' - Scots householders have under four months to install new fire alarm systems

According to the new law, all homeowners or landlords will have to fund the costs of the alarms estimated by the Scottish Government to be at least £220 - but this only applies to alarms that can be fitted without the help of an electrician.

Private companies have been known to quote up to £600 to fit a system of alarms.

The changes mean the standard that already applies to private rented property and new builds is being extended to all homes.

The new law give people till February 1 to comply.

Leaflets have been distributed across Scotland by potential suppliers urging people to take action to fit alarms before the deadline.

One from Aico, one of the UK's leading fire and carbon monoxide protection firms is headlined: "We don't want to alarm you but the law has changed in Scotland and time is running out to install and interlinked fire alarm systems by 1st February 2021."

The Association of British Insurers confirmed that householders could face issues with cover if they did not comply with the law.

The Herald: FATALITIES:Smoke alarms were missing in a third of fatal house fires

An ABI spokeswoman insurers expect for homeowners to ensure that their property meets legal requirements, complying with relevant building standards and fire safety standards.

"Insurers will have their own approach to the new regulations, any requirements homeowners have to meet to make a claim will be in the terms of their policy. If the homeowner fails to meet the terms of their policy it could impact their claim," she said.

Adam Stachura, head of policy with Age Scotland said its helpline had been "inundated" with calls from older people over the last week seeking more information and advice on who can help install these alarms and if there is financial support available to them as they are on low and fixed incomes.

"Many callers are anxious about allowing new people into their homes at a time when Covid-19 transmission rates are high and wondering how on earth it will be possible to get the necessary work done before the deadline in just a few months.

“While there is no doubt that this is a very important move to improve community and home safety, bringing private homes into line with the private rented sector, it has caught most homeowners by complete surprise. The public awareness and promotion of this significant change leaves a lot to be desired and there has been near radio silence from the Scottish Government about this over the course of the year.

“We have essentially lost a year to be able to comply with this change in the law as a result of coronavirus and it seems wholly unlikely that any significant steps will be achieved with only three months left. There are considerable concerns about the affordability of this for hundreds of thousands of older people who now face a significant new bill with not enough time to save up. There is also an increased risk of scams and rogue traders, and potential implications for home insurance policies if people do not meet the deadline.

READ MORE: Q&A - What you need to know about the new Scots law regarding home fire alarms

“The Scottish Government should, at the very least, extend the deadline for this requirement to the spring of 2022 in order to give homeowners enough time to plan, save, and get this important work done without the risk of breaking the law.”

Mr Ross also called for a delay saying: “This legislation was recently rubber stamped by the Scottish Government, but there has been very little publicity about it and people are simply not aware of the requirements.

“It’s absolutely staggering that there has been a lack of published information from the SNP Government, who have a duty to make the public aware and put mechanisms in place for people to have this work done safely and at an affordable cost. “People are going to be extremely worried and concerned about what it means for them and about how they are going to comply.

The Herald:

From the Aico website

“Community safety is absolutely vital and is paramount at all times, but during a pandemic when money is tight this is an unacceptable and unrealistic target. The Scottish Government should push the deadline back into 2022 to allow people more time to comply."

In a Q and A over the new laws, the Scottish Government in an answer over whether it would impact on house insurance said: "This will be for individual insurance providers to decide whether they include the new requirements in their policies. Insurers may ask if the property is fitted with working smoke alarms and would expect homeowners to ensure that their property meets any applicable standards. If homeowners are unclear on whether this may impact their insurance policy, we would advise them to get in touch with their provider."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “In light of the challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Scottish Government is actively considering a delay in the deadline to carry out this important safety work. A decision will be announced shortly.

“Improving fire safety is a key priority for the Scottish Government. The tragic events at Grenfell Tower emphasised how important building and fire safety is, which is why, following consultation, we announced in 2018 that the standards that already existed in the private rented sector would be applied to all homes. Our intention is that everyone should benefit from the same level of protection, whether you own your home or rent from a social or private landlord.”