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Be aware of the silent killer

To mark Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, landlords are being reminded that they have a legal obligation to keep tenants safe by maintaining gas appliances and ensuring that a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer carries out a gas safety check every 12 months.

The campaign which runs from 18-24 November is an opportunity to raise further awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO), which is a gas that can kill you quickly. It is called the “silent killer” because it is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non- irritating. 

Private sector landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove), in accordance with the The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

Landlords must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy, or face the risk of being fined up to £5,000. 

David Cox, chief executive, ARLA Propertymark, said: “In the right hands, gas is safe, however if things go wrong gas appliances can cause many problems. With no smell or taste, carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer, causing around 60 deaths a year in England and Wales.

“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. However, 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.”

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