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New calls for carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted in all rented properties

2-minute read

Mollie Millman

17 December 2019

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Calls have been made for all rented properties to have carbon monoxide alarms fitted.

The chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, David Cox, insisted that it was time for the government to enforce such alarms being fitted in all buy-to-let properties.

He said: “In the right hands, gas is safe - however if things go wrong gas appliances can cause many problems.”

Carbon monoxide is often described as the ‘silent killer’ as it has no smell or taste, and causes around 60 deaths a year in England and Wales.

Legal duty

Mr Cox explained that landlords already have a legal duty to keep tenants safe by maintaining gas appliances and ensuring a gas safety check is carried out every 12 months by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.

He suggested that as a “second line of defence”, landlords should fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm in rented properties.

However, he added: “This is no substitute for regular servicing of all gas appliances.”

Government legislation

Mr Cox said the government needs to make best practice legal and enforce compulsory carbon monoxide alarms in every rented property.

“At the moment, they only need to be in rooms with solid fuel burning, but we should be doing all we can to protect tenants,” he said.

Carbon monoxide dangers

Breathing in carbon monoxide can make a person ill, but it can also kill someone if they’re exposed to high levels of it.

After carbon monoxide is breathed in, it enters the bloodstream and mixes with haemoglobin (the part of the red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body) to form carboxyhaemoglobin.

When this happens, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen, and this causes the body’s cells and tissue to fail and die.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are not always obvious but include dizziness, being sick and stomach pain.

What causes carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, and wood do not burn fully.

These sources of fuel are used in many household appliances, including boilers, gas fires, central heating systems, water heaters and cookers.

Incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated household appliances, such as those listed above, are the most common causes of accidental exposure to carbon monoxide.

With this in mind, it's vital that landlords are aware of the dangers and the identity of any appliances in their rental properties that could potentially leak carbon monoxide.

Tips for landlords installing carbon monoxide alarms

When installing the alarm, ensure that it’s fitted no more than two metres from the potential source of the gas. Chimney flues should be clear and the area should be well ventilated.

You should also inform tenants of the appropriate action if the alarm sounds. It’s a good idea to include a clause in the tenancy agreement requiring tenants to replace the batteries regularly and test the alarm every few months.

What do you think of carbon monoxide regulations? Let us know below.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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