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The silent killer – carbon monoxide

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It is the time of year when many of your tenants are likely to be using gas-fired room or water heaters. A potential by-product of combustion is carbon monoxide (CO) – and carbon monoxide is potentially lethal.

That is the message underlying a warning issued by Landlord Today on the 20th of January, which carried important steps you must take to prevent monoxide dioxide poisoning in your let property. The London Fire Brigade reckons that carbon monoxide poisoning causes around 50 deaths and countless injuries each year.

Make sure your tenants don’t become one of those statistics, therefore, by:

  • meeting your obligations (in England and Wales and Scotland) and installing a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a gas-fired heater or boiler;
  • regularly checking that the CO alarm is working and that its batteries are charged – perhaps at the same time you make similar checks of your fire alarms;
  • always have all the gas appliances in the property properly checked and serviced – an annual gas safety certificate is your minimum legal requirement;
  • ensure that all gas appliances are adequately ventilated – once combustion has used up all the air in the room, the appliance might start producing the deadly carbon dioxide;
  • to be doubly safe, advise your tenants about the warning signs of possible carbon – symptoms almost like that of the ‘flu or a common cold, such as feeling sick, dizziness and headaches.

As the landlord, you are responsible for your tenants’ health and safety. If it emerges that you have been negligent in your care of gas appliances, failed to take sufficient precautions against carbon monoxide poisoning, and someone is injured or dies, you may be ordered to pay very substantial compensation