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Landlords warned about the ‘silent killer’

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It is colourless, odourless and tasteless, but is responsible for around 60 deaths a year in England and Wales – so it’s no surprise that carbon monoxide (CO) is often dubbed the silent killer.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week

It is currently Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, aimed at raising awareness about the gas, which can prove deadly very quickly.

It is also a chance to warn private sector landlords of the dangers of CO and reminded them about their legal duties to keep tenants safe.

Landlords must make sure that a carbon monoxide detector is installed in any room containing a solid fuel-burning appliance, such as a coal fire or wood burning stove. While it is not a legal requirement, installing a CO detector in any homes with gas appliances is also recommended. You will need to test the detector before the start of a new tenancy.

The rules about CO detectors are in addition to the requirement that landlords maintain all gas appliances in a safe condition and make sure that a suitably qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer carries out an annual gas safety check.

Private sector landlords must also have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties. You must make sure the alarms are working at the start of each new tenancy or risk a fine of up to £5,000.

David Cox from industry body, ARLA Propertymark, which is backing the awareness week, said: “In the right hands, gas is safe, however if things go wrong gas appliances can cause many problems.

“Landlords have a legal duty to keep tenants safe by maintaining gas appliances and ensuring a gas safety check is carried out every 12 months, by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer.

“As a second line of defence, landlords should fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm in rented properties, but this is no substitute for regular servicing of all gas appliances.

“It’s now time for the government to make best practice legal and enforce compulsory carbon monoxide alarms in every rented property. At the moment, they only need to be in rooms with solid fuel burning, but we should be doing all we can to protect tenants.”

Find out about safety regulations for landlords on the government website. Read more about this story in Landlord Today.

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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