As the weather gets colder and more people start to use their heating, many of these heat sources will be those that produce carbon monoxide (CO). With Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week starting on 21st November, it is a useful time to raise awareness of the dangers of this potentially deadly gas and what can be done to protect against the risks.
The symptoms of CO 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. Even with annual campaigns, however, there is still uncertainty over the dangers of CO, with the so-called ‘silent killer’ causing around 60 deaths a year in England and Wales. Despite thinking to the contrary, CO does not smell, cannot be tasted, seen, or heard, so is almost impossible to detect without an alarm.
Since 1st October 2022 all rented properties in England must provide CO alarms in rooms where there is any type of fixed combustion application. All alarms must be in proper working order at the start of a new tenancy. Previously the requirement for alarms only applied to solid fuel combustion appliances, but CO can be produced from many different sources including an oven, gas fire, or a boiler. It also isn’t just old appliances or boilers, as while having brand new gas appliances, such as a new hob or boiler, will significantly reduce the chances of them leaking CO it doesn’t rule them out.
In addition, under the regulations, all landlords of private (and social) housing must ensure a smoke alarm is also fitted on every floor where there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. All alarms must be in proper working order at the start of a new tenancy and from 1st October when a tenant reports that an alarm may not be in proper working order and is found not to be, the alarm must be repaired or replaced as soon as reasonably practicable.
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 have supplied and fitted these alarms, which are British Standard, and we 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 and checking all alarms meet regulations or anything else on the local property market, please do not hesitate to contact me as I am happy to help.
Managing Director / ARLA Propertymark Advisory Board
Tel: 01394 337590