Most landlords know about the dangers of carbon monoxide, but may push any concerns about it to the bottom of their list of priorities.
New regulations aim to redress the balance and ensure tenants are safe.
From the beginning of next month, landlords will be required to install carbon monoxide alarms in all rooms with a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
Research by British Gas and Shelter suggests almost three out of five landlords are unaware that the new rules are coming into force on October 1.
Being exposed to carbon monoxide gas can be fatal, with the main sources of leaks being faulty gas boilers and heaters.
Landlords are already required to ensure that their rented properties receive an annual gas safety check and certificate. These certificates need to be renewed every year and supplied to tenants.
British Gas engineer Sheena Anker explained: “It’s crucial for landlords to be aware of the new legislation to ensure that their tenants are kept safe, and to stay on the right side of the law.
“I have visited homes and seen unsafe appliances which either haven’t been serviced in years or have been installed by illegal gas fitters. Worryingly, tenants are often oblivious to the danger they are in. Tenants can stay safe by asking landlords for a copy of the gas safety certificate, following a check from a Gas Safe registered engineer, and making sure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted.”
Fines of £5,000
The new rules will be enforced by local authorities and landlords who fail to comply could be fined up to £5,000. The rules also require landlords to have working smoke alarms on each floor in homes they let.
The British town where British Gas engineers have installed the most carbon monoxide alarms during the past year is Greenwich with 4,133 alarms fitted, according to the research. At the same time, the town where engineers have installed the fewest carbon monoxide alarms is Dewsbury with just 235 alarms fitted.
The signs of carbon monoxide
Landlords and tenants may not know what the signs of carbon monoxide are. They need to look for signs of staining, soot or discoloration on or around a gas boiler, fire or water heater. If this is spotted, it may be an indication that something is wrong. In this instance, the vents in doors, walls or windows need to be kept clear to ensure that any gas fumes can escape the property safely.
Regarding the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning in people, these can be similar to flu. If any of these signs are identified, experts advise shutting down the suspected appliance immediately, opening windows and calling a gas engineer. Those living in the property may also need to seek medical attention.
With the potential of a fine of thousands of pounds, landlords need to act now to ensure their tenants are safe – and by doing so protect both themselves and their financial investment.
Photo “Dead Stop” by Victory of the People