The Silent Killer – What a Landlord Needs to Know

From Robert Ulph on November 30, 2021

This week is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and ensure that people know what they need to do to protect themselves from this potentially deadly gas.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are like those of flu so it can make diagnosis difficult. They include; headaches, nausea, dizziness, tiredness, confusion and eventually loss of consciousness and in some cases, death. 

Despite campaigns however there is still some uncertainty over the dangers of carbon monoxide, with the so-called ‘silent killer’ causing around 60 deaths a year in England and Wales. Despite thinking to the contrary, carbon monoxide does not smell, cannot be tasted, seen or heard. It is colourless and odourless so is almost impossible to detect without an alarm. 

Some people think that carbon monoxide only comes from old gas boilers, but it can leak from any gas appliance in your property. This could include an oven, gas fire, or a boiler. It can also come from solid-fuel burning appliances, including wood burners and open fires. It also isn’t just old appliances or boilers either, as while having brand new gas appliances, such as a new hob or boiler, will significantly reduce the chances of them leaking carbon monoxide it doesn’t rule them out. 

Key indicators that carbon monoxide is present are that if the gas cooker flames are yellow or orange or there are sooty marks on walls around boilers, stoves or gas fire covers. Other indications include pilot lights that frequently go out or there is increased condensation inside windows. These are indications but even without legislation there is no substitute for having a carbon monoxide alarm.

In 2015 legislation came into effect to improve overall safety in the private rented sector and this included smoke alarms must be installed on every floor of a rental property and be tested ahead of any new tenancy. Carbon monoxide alarms must be placed in every room containing a solid-fuel burning appliance and again, these must be in proper working order at the start of a new tenancy.

Local authorities can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.

At Pennington, we ensure that all landlords adhere to these regulations and we can supply and fit these alarms as well as carry out the regular tests and get signed confirmation from the tenants that this is the case. During the tenancy it is a tenant’s responsibility to ensure the alarms work and to change the batteries. However, should the alarms become faulty during the tenancy landlords are responsible for replacing them. 

Fortunately, the dangers of carbon monoxide can be avoided and regulation helps to give extra protection. As always, if you would like any further discussion on this or anything else on the local property market, please do not hesitate to contact me.