Why landlords need to install Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors for tenants

Contrary to popular opinion amongst gas engineers the installation of CO detectors is not yet (May 2012) law. The Household Safety (Carbon Monoxide Detectors) Bill 2010-12 had it’s first reading in the House of Commons on 3rd November 2011 so at some point in the future all homes will need to have a detector fitted.

What is carbon monoxide – why is it a problem?

CO is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal. Carbon-based fuels are safe to use. It is only when the fuel does not burn properly that excess CO is produced, which is poisonous. When CO enters the body, it prevents the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs.
You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but CO can kill quickly without warning. According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics around 20 people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. Levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a long period. In extreme cases paralysis and brain damage can be caused as a result of prolonged exposure to CO. Increasing public understanding of the risks of CO poisoning and taking sensible precautions could dramatically reduce this risk.

Should I install a CO detector?

The HSE strongly recommends the use of CO detectors as one useful precaution to give tenants advance warning of CO in the property. Importantly detectors should not be regarded as a replacement for regular maintenance and safety checks by a Gas Safe registered engineer . CO detectors cost between £20-£30 and can be purchased in most hardware shops. Before purchasing a CO detector, always ensure it complies with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. CO detectors should be installed and maintained in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.

If any landlord in the Mendip area would like a CO detector installing our maintenance team can supply, fit and test 1 for £55 and additional units at £35 each or £90 for two or 3 for £120. If you are a tenant, bring this to your landlord’s attention and ask him/her to consider having one installed – Whilst it is not yet law it’s a small price to pay to prevent death or harm from the silent killer.

Have you fitted a CO detector to your property yet? If not why not?

Tom Morgan

01458 445 824


The multi award winning customer service business that lets and manages residential property across Somerset.

This entry was posted in Landlords. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply