Every landlord needs to be aware of a few basic safety elements, but none more so than carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is one of the most poisonous substances in the atmosphere, but all of us live with it and, tragically, around 25 people a year are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. Unfortunately, many of these accidents occurred in tenanted properties where landlords were unsure or unaware of their obligations. Every landlord has a responsibility towards tenants as far as carbon monoxide is concerned, so what do you need to know?
Carbon monoxide is present in almost every property in small quantities, but is most likely found in dangerous quantities around burning flames. Furnaces which do not have proper chimney exhaust routes are a common source and boilers which have not been fitted correctly also present a danger. Carbon monoxide poisoning is most common in poorly ventilated properties like inward facing flats, so you need to be extra careful if you are in this situation.
Workmanship and responsibility
Most landlords won’t fit furnaces themselves and very few will be qualified boiler fitters so some of the responsibility for ensuring fittings are carbon monoxide safe does lie with the workmen who fit them. Even so, landlords need to be aware of the possibility of a bad fitting and be prepared to question any workmen who seem unsure about their obligations.
Protecting against carbon monoxide
One of the simplest things you can do to protect your tenants is to install a carbon monoxide warning device. If excess levels are detected an alarm will sound and your tenants will be able to evacuate the property. These devices are relatively cheap but should always be coupled with a landlord insurance policy: if workmen have installed fittings poorly then you need to be able to protect yourself against liability.
Carbon monoxide is a very real danger and needs to be taken with the upmost seriousness by landlords. Don’t take any chances, make sure your tenants are safe, your workmen are responsible and your legal liability is always covered.