Almost half of UK private rented tenants could be at risk from carbon monoxide in buy to let properties according to research carried out by campaign group Project SHOUT.
The research found that nearly 50 per cent of private landlords had not fitted a CO alarm in their buy to let property, whilst another 10 per cent of tenants asked were uncertain if they had a carbon monoxide alarm or not.
The figures were even worse when it came to students, with only 46 per cent of UK university students living in rented accommodation have a CO alarm installed according to a recent survey.
It was also found that half of UK university students don’t recognise the symptoms of CO poisoning, which include dizziness, headaches and nausea, and are twice as likely to think they have a hangover or the flu, particularly during the ‘flu season’.
Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer and is produced when fuel does not burn properly, usually from badly fitted or poorly maintained appliances. It has no distinguishable smell, so can easily not be noticed until it is too late.
Legislation was put in place over two years ago forcing landlords to fit CO alarms in rental properties which have solid fuel burning appliances. However, the legislation has not been extended to cover gas appliances, such as gas boilers or hobs.
Common sources of CO are gas and oil boilers, gas hobs and fires, log burners, open fires and barbecues.
Many responsible private sector landlords have already installed CO alarms in their properties, but it is thought that new legislation is required to ensure that landlords fit the alarms in all properties, not just those with a solid fuel burning appliance.
All landlords should make sure that their gas appliances are initially installed and serviced regularly by a qualified GAS SAFE registered engineer.