A guide to carbon monoxide regulations in rented accommodation

Carbon Monoxide is often referred to as ‘the silent killer’, this is because it cannot be heard, smelt, tasted or seen. It naturally occurs in air, however, dangerous levels are produced by any type of incomplete combustion and if inhaled it can stop your body from transporting oxygen. Common symptoms include headaches, confusion, drowsiness, burning eyes and a loss of consciousness. If inhaled in high concentration it can lead to brain damage and death.

It is understood that carbon monoxide poisoning in the home accounts for 50 recorded deaths per year, and as many as 4,000 medical visits, according to the Department of Health.

As of October 1st 2015, all landlords of private residential rental properties are required by law to install carbon monoxide detectors in any room that includes a solid fuel appliance such as coal or wood burning fires and stoves.

At the moment this doesn’t cover gas appliances, although these regulations could well be updated in the near future. Therefore it is strongly recommended landlords with gas appliances should also consider installing CO detectors.

If you're a landlord and breach these regulations, you could face a fine of up to £5,000, even if you rent through an agency.

A CO detector should be located in the same room as the solid fuel appliance and in each bedroom for additional safety, preferably away from furniture/light fittings etc. As gas is hotter than air it will more than likely be forced upwards towards the ceiling and therefore near or on the ceiling would be a suitable location.

Condensation mould – who is responsible?

Condensation mould is a common occurrence in rental property and becomes apparent in the form of black mould on internal walls. It is frequently noted on property visits and raised by tenants as a maintenance issue and a concern that needs rectifying.

There is often some confusion between the landlord and tenant as to who is responsible for the development of condensation mould. As agents we find it is automatically the tenants’ assumption that the landlord should be responsible but this is more often than not incorrect.

Condensation mould forms when warm air comes into contact with a cold surface (usually the internal side of an external wall or a window) and the moisture in the air turns into droplets of water. An average household roughly puts into the air 10 litres of water every day, mostly through showers, washing & drying, cooking and also just by breathing.

The Landlord

The landlord certainly needs to ensure the setup/condition of the property is in order to ensure the property isn’t prone to condensation mould, this can include the following;

  • Ensure all maintenance issues such as leaks are fixed in quick time
  • Ensure the property has an adequate heating system
  • Ensure there is provision for ventilation such as extractor fans, windows, trickle vents
  • Ensure the property is correctly insulated

The Tenant

It is the responsibility of the tenant to take all reasonable steps are taken to minimise condensation in the house. To include the following;

  • Adequately heat the house through the colder months
  • Ventilate through opening windows, use of extractors fans in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Do not dry clothes on radiators or on clothes horses as the moisture produced will add to high condensation levels in the air.
  • Keep a small gap between walls and furniture to allow for some airflow

Should mould form then the tenant is normally expected to wipe down and clean the affected surfaces from time to time to prevent any other associated damage that can be caused to the window frames, floor, walls and ceilings.