Almost everyone knows that all properties – rented or not – should have a smoke detector installed. Smoke detectors protect those at home from the dangers of fire – but what about a carbon monoxide alarm?
Do I need a carbon monoxide alarm?
All private landlords must ensure that their rental properties have fitted, working and tested smoke detector on all floors and a carbon monoxide detector where solid fuels are used (although we recommend a CO detector regardless of what fuel type).
The law around carbon monoxide alarms
This requirement is highlighted in the government How to Let guide. All smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms must be tested on the first day a tenant moves in. You should check and make sure that you are complying with these requirements or you could face up to a £5,000 fine.
In addition to this, landlords must also provide a valid Gas Safety Certificate and EPC. Without these documents in place, a landlord will be in violation of the law and be unable to serve a Section 21 notice. Read about all your required legal landlord documents here.
Want to keep on top of all your legal responsibilities and landlord documents? Download useful our Landlord Checklist below.
New rules for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in 2022
In 2022, the rules regarding smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are changing. The new rules – beginning 1 October 2022 – will require social landlords to have a smoke alarm on every floor, not just private landlords, as well as a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a fixed combustion appliance (such as a gas boiler or fire).
Tenants will still be responsible for testing alarms during the tenancy, but landlords will now be required to fix or replace any faulty alarms as soon as they are informed.
Carbon monoxide – the silent killer
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be lethal. As an odourless and colourless gas, its presence will go undetected without a carbon monoxide alarm – so why do only 1 in 10 people know that carbon monoxide alarms exist?
43% of the UK wouldn’t know what to do if there was a carbon monoxide leak in their home – and only 5% can identify the symptoms of poisoning – can you?
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach pains
Where can I get a carbon monoxide alarm?
Some fire stations throughout the country offer free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, or you can buy them at most DIY shops. The need for smoke alarms is obvious and most people have them installed at home (and most tenants are aware of the need to test them regularly, though you should put in place a system to remind them to do so). Carbon monoxide alarms are designed to detect this ‘silent killer’ and with the increase in the number of solid fuel fires that are installed in buildings, plus the ever-present threat of a malfunctioning boiler, they are vital for saving lives.
Don’t scrimp on gas safety
Every year, rental properties must be inspected by a Gas Safe Engineer. It is also best practice to have your boiler serviced at the same time. A broken boiler can cause a carbon monoxide leak – so don’t wait until it packs in to get it fixed.
Keep on top of landlord laws
Being a landlord isn’t just about providing a roof over someone’s head and occasionally repairing the boiler. There are many legal requirements that all landlords are bound by, with seemingly more laws being passed each day. Sometimes, new laws come into force without fanfare or a letter being dropped through your door and can make you unwittingly in breach of your duties.
This law surrounding carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors highlights the need for landlords to be ever vigilant about changes to their responsibilities. Here at LettingaProperty.com, we have a fantastic landlord team who keep on top of all legislative changes and will always make sure you’re in the know.