By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.


Inadequate carbon monoxide alarms ‘putting lives at risk’

Landlords are being urged to regularly check their carbon monoxide alarms or risk being fined up to £5,000, after a new report revealed that many alarms are not fit for purpose.

More than half (52%) of the carbon monoxide (CO) alarms tested across seven EU member states posed a ‘high’ or ‘serious risk’, a new report co-funded by the European Union and the Product Safety Forum of Europe (PROSAFE) has revealed.

In total more than 81 models of CO detectors were inspected, with 25 tested in a laboratory.  Of those laboratory tested, only three models were found to be OK, with many detectors assessed by PROSAFE deemed to be a ‘high’ risk.


This shocking report comes less than eight months after West Sussex Trading Standards warned that as many as 80% of CO alarms tested failed British Standards tests.

Recognising the issue, last year the UK government passed legislation requiring private sector landlords to test their smoke and CO alarms annually and before each new tenancy. 

Failure to comply could see landlords face fines of up to £5,000.

“There is undoubtedly a serious issue with the quality of CO alarms on the market and more needs to be done to raise awareness of the issue,” said John Stones, managing director of Gas Safe Europe, which estimates that there are more than 30m alarms in the UK that could be “providing consumers with a false sense of security and putting lives at risk”.

Last year, a company was ordered to pay £11,000 in fines and prosecution costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for putting a woman and her son at risk of suffering carbon monoxide poisoning for seven years at their home in Ashton-under-Lyne.

Landlord, Rent4U Ltd, of Manchester, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an inspection of the gas boiler at her home found it was in a condition classified as ‘immediately dangerous’, and therefore unsafe for the tenant.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the firm failed to arrange an annual gas safety check at the terraced house on Marlborough Street between 2007 and 2014.

The court was told that Rent4U had previously been served with two Improvement Notices by HSE in 2013 after failing to arrange annual gas safety checks at two other properties.

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

  • icon

    The article is factually incorrect. Legislation does not require the annual testing of these things.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    National statistics show around 40 deaths, 200 hospitalisations and around 4,000 treatments for CO- however, with the rental industry so strongly regulated, I'd love to know what percentage of these relate to those and what relate to to private homes (where there are no maintenance/upkeep regs) or other settings such as tourism sites.
    However, if the property specifications require a CO alatm then they DO require annual testing- although (after the initial check) this can be got around by ensuring you keep records of requesting tgenants to test on an annual basis.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Also- this article appears to be more about the manutfacturing standards NOT of testing. No Landlord or Agent will be doing labortaory tests- they will use the test function and MAYBE do a CO test (highly unlikely). Isnt this about the UK/EU needing to tighten manufactirung standards on safety equipment?


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up