Why landlords should fit carbon monoxide alarms – even in homes without solid fuel

Around 60 people die each year in the UK from carbon monoxide poisoning

Yesterday, we blogged about the importance of ensuring smoke alarms are in good working order. Since 1 October 2015, as well as installing smoke alarms in their rental properties, landlords have also been required by law to install carbon monoxide alarms in any room where solid fuel is used. Failing to comply with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 could mean being faced with a fine of up to £5,000.

The Gas Safe website explains that carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), oil and solid fuels such as coal and wood. This happens when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked. Carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream which leads to the death of cells and body tissue. Even small amounts of the gas can cause poisoning, and long term effects can include paralysis and brain damage.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer. Every year it leads to around 60 deaths in the UK. Another 4000 end up in A&E being treated for symptoms including:

  • headaches
  • dizziness 
  • nausea 
  • breathlessness 
  • collapse 
  • loss of consciousness

While homes heated by gas and oil are not covered by the regulations, we would still recommend, as best practice, that all landlords install alarms to keep their residents safe.

When you are fitting alarms, don’t forget to keep a record of when and where they were installed, alongside dates when checks were made that they are in good working order – and include both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in the inventory.

If you’re not sure what you need to do to comply with the regulations, click here for a useful government leaflet that explains landlords’ obligations in full.

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