Renters at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning

  • One in three renters do not have a life-saving carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in their home
  • Four in five renters thought it was their landlord’s responsibility to provide a CO alarm in their property
  • Government urged to go further to protect tenants from co poisoning – eight in 10 think the regulations should change to protect all tenants
  • Nearly half of renters in Leeds do not have a CO alarm
  • Protect yourself and your family by following the ABC guide – Do you have an Alarm fitted? Have you tested it and are the Batteries working? Have you had an up to date gas Check?

New research for the ‘Carbon Monoxide Be Alarmed!’ campaign has revealed that almost a third of renters in the UK do not have a life-saving CO alarm in their property, with four in five unaware that it is their responsibility – and not their landlord’s – to provide one.

Private renters are still at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning nearly two years after legislation aimed at protecting private tenants came into effect. Under current regulations, landlords in England and Wales are only required to provide a CO alarm in properties with a solid fuel appliance, i.e. coal or wood burning stoves. However, in Scotland landlords are legally required to provide CO alarms in all properties.

The Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign – run by Energy UK – is calling on Government to take action to extend the legislation to ensure all private tenants are protected.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK and CO Be Alarmed! spokesperson, said:

“Our research shows private renters are still at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning with one in three not having a carbon monoxide alarm fitted at home. That is why we are calling on government to extend the legislation to protect all private renters including those with a gas appliance which is over 80 percent of homes.

“In the meantime we urge tenants to use our simple ABC checklist – Do you have an Alarm fitted? Have you tested it and are the Batteries working? Have you had an up to date gas Check?. This the only way to protect yourself and your family.”

Barry Sheerman MP said:

“As chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Carbon Monoxide, this is an issue I have championed throughout my parliamentary career and is something I feel very strongly about. With no smell or visible presence, the only way to detect the dangerous gas is through the installation of an audible alarm. Awareness of this easily forgotten step is vital in saving lives. We’ve made good progress, but we must continue to work to bring the number of these entirely preventable deaths down to zero. I value the vital work that the ‘Carbon Monoxide Be Alarmed!’ campaign is doing to achieve this goal and support the call for legislation to ensure all private tenants are protected.”

Chris Norris, Head of Policy of the National Landlords Association, said:

“Private landlords have a legal responsibility to provide a CO alarm if solid fuel burning appliances are installed, but landlords, tenants, and home-owners need to be aware that the risk of CO poisoning extents to all types of combustion – including natural gas. Although the risk is small, CO detectors are not expensive and require very little maintenance, which is why the NLA recommends landlords install an alarm in every property with solid fuel, oil, or gas installations. It is best practice and may save a life”

For more information about how to stay safe, visit www.co-bealarmed.co.uk

Ends

Notes to editors

  • CO Be Alarmed! is the national campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by carbon monoxide. Since 2008, the campaign has encouraged people to install carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. The Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign is run by Energy UK. To find out more about the campaign you can visit co-bealarmed.co.uk
  • The research for Carbon Monoxide Be Alarmed! was carried out by Censuswide between 14.06.2017 and 16.06.2017 among 1,000 renters, 16+, across the United Kingdom

 

City Percentage of renters who don’t have an alarm
Leeds 46.50%
Sheffield 39.50%
Liverpool 36.60%
Manchester 36.30%
Brighton 35.10%
Belfast 34.60%
London 33.60%
Birmingham 30.30%
Norwich 28.80%
Cardiff 26.80%
Nottingham 26.70%
Newcastle 24.60%
Southampton 24.10%
Bristol 19.60%
Edinburgh 19.00%
Glasgow 17.90%
Plymouth 17.60%

 

  • The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 only require landlords to fit CO alarms in properties that have solid-fuel heating appliances (i.e. coal or wood). In practice this is only about 8% of the rented property stock, whereas some 78% have gas appliances, meaning there is still a risk of CO poisoning. In Scotland and there is no differential as to the fuel type, landlords must fit CO alarms in all properties.
  • Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, charcoal, coal and wood do not burn completely. The most common cause of this is when an appliance, such as a boiler or cooker, is installed incorrectly or poorly maintained. Carbon monoxide can also build up when flues, chimneys or vents are blocked