Landlords must tackle threat of carbon monoxide poisoning

Fri 24 Apr 2015

Smoke alarm on the wall detecting smoke and carbon monoxide

Landlords will soon have to deal with the threat posed to their tenants by carbon monoxide poisoning or face a financial penalty.

Measures announced by housing minister Brandon Lewis in March are expected to come into effect later this year and will require many rented homes to be fitted with at least one carbon monoxide alarm. Landlords who fail to comply will be liable to a civil penalty of up to £5,000.

Leaders’ technical and compliance director Carole Charge explained landlords will need to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any part of a property that is deemed to carry a high risk - such as rooms in which a gas appliance or solid fuel heating appliance is present.

“With an increasing number of tenants in rented accommodation across the UK, it is inevitable the spotlight will focus more and more on safety - and this is something Leaders welcomes,” Mrs Charge stated.

“The overriding responsibility of a landlord has always been to provide a safe environment for their tenant, and the new measures will help to ensure this remains the case. I would advise all landlords to have carbon monoxide alarms fitted in advance of the new legislation coming into effect, which is likely to be in October.”

Statistics show approximately 40 deaths and 670 serious injuries are caused by carbon monoxide poisoning each year.

Mrs Charge said: “Carbon monoxide has no taste, smell or colour, so it is easy to understand how so many people are unaware of its presence. Cases of poisoning can be down to poor installation, a lack of maintenance or damage to a gas appliance within a property.

“The good news is that deaths and injuries caused by carbon monoxide can be easily avoided through the use of a functioning detector. The equipment will alert a homeowner as soon as carbon monoxide levels rise above the norm, giving them and their landlord time to act.

“Landlords will also be required to install smoke alarms on every floor of a tenanted property, further enhancing the safety of tenants across the country.”

Leaders is a long-term supporter of carbon monoxide safety campaigns and measures, including the annual Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week in November. It also has stringent measures in place to ensure landlords have regular gas inspections carried out by an engineer who is registered with Gas Safe Register.

“We will be just as rigorous when it comes to ensuring our landlords comply with the new carbon monoxide and smoke alarms regulations once they are introduced later this year,” Mrs Charge explained.

The company has secured a supply of carbon monoxide monitors that are approved by the British Standards Institute and is ready to install these in all rented properties where they are required at a cost of £37.50 (plus VAT) to landlords. It will also fit suitable smoke alarms for £25 (plus VAT).

Leaders is recommending its landlords have the alarms installed at the same time as a gas safety check, providing one is due before October.

Contact your local Leaders branch for more information about carbon monoxide and how to protect your property against it.