Landlords urged to fit carbon monoxide detectors ahead of law change
New guidance just issued by the Scottish Government says that, from 1st December 2015, all privately rented properties with fuel-burning appliances have to be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors and alarms.
Shelter Scotland, who along with Scottish Gas pushed for this change in the law, says the move is good news that will save lives from what is called the ‘silent killer’. The charity said landlords don’t need to wait until 1st December and should fit the monitors now, potentially saving lives.
Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless. At worst its effects are fatal, so the sooner it is detected the better. Carbon monoxide is mainly leaked by faulty or badly-maintained fuel-burning appliances (like gas, coal and wood) where there is insufficient ventilation.
Research released last year by Shelter Scotland and Scottish Gas showed that 5 per cent of renters in Scotland said they had suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning while around 51 per cent of renters had had a safety check and certificate provided by their landlord. Around 20 people a year die in the UK from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It’s very welcome news that from 1st December thousands of households across Scotland will be protected from disasters waiting to happen. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and is particularly dangerous to children, elderly people, expectant mothers and people with health problems.
“It’s absolutely vital that landlords who haven’t fitted CO alarms now comply with the law and make this change to their properties to protect their tenants and stop putting people’s lives at risk. Landlords also need to ensure that annual checks such as a gas safety check are carried out.”
Graeme Brown added: “This guidance gives landlords a head start ahead of the change in law so there’s nothing to stop them installing carbon monoxide alarms now and make their properties safer, sooner.”
Edinburgh Southern MSP, Jim Eadie, who tabled the amendment to the Housing (Scotland) Bill which requires all landlords to install carbon monoxide monitors in properties which they let, said: “I am delighted that the Housing Bill was amended to ensure that carbon monoxide monitors – which are quick, easy and cheap to fit – become standard and will become law on 1st December.
“I’m also keen to see this change as part of an evolution in private renting, where stability and security become the norm and where, as a result, tenants feel comfortable in asking for the services and improvements which turn a private let into a home.”
Shelter Scotland and Scottish Gas have joined forces in a unique partnership to improve homes in the private rented sector.
Christine McGourty, managing director of Scottish Gas, said: “We’ve worked hard with Shelter Scotland to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and make sure people in rented homes are protected.
“Our partnership with Shelter is helping to make rented homes safer and raising standards for thousands of people in Scotland.”
For more information about the dangers of carbon monoxide, please visit thesilentkiller.co.uk.