Nearly 50% of people renting a private property in the UK have not had a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm installed by their landlord, research by campaign group Project SHOUT has uncovered.
A further 10% of tenants weren’t sure whether they had a CO alarm or not, meaning that nearly 60% of the UK’s nine million private tenants (i.e. 5.4 million households) may well be unprotected from the deadly gas that kills 50 people each year – deaths that are preventable by fitting an alarm.
This revelation follows a recent study that unveiled only 46% of UK university students living in rented accommodation have a CO alarm installed. The poll also revealed 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, with the latter being particularly relevant during the winter months.
This is despite legislation coming into force more than 24 months ago that demands landlords fit CO alarms in properties where solid fuel burning appliances are present. The legislation, however, does NOT cover gas appliances such as a gas boiler or gas hob.
The worse affected areas for tenants include:
Percentage of tenants who did not have a CO alarm installed by their landlord
- East Anglia – 44%
- East Midlands – 44%
- London – 40%
- North East – 49%
- North West – 54%
- South West – 47%
- South East – 45%
- West Midlands – 45%
- Yorkshire & Humberside – 45%
- N. Ireland – 57%
- Scotland – 24%
- Wales – 42%
This is a huge cause for alarm as “generation rent” is set to swell over the next decade, with half of those under 40 predicted to be living in properties owned by private landlords by 2025.
Eddie Hughes, MP for Walsall North and Project SHOUT ambassador, is proposing a change in the law to ensure it becomes mandatory for landlords to install CO alarms in all properties, not just those with a solid fuel burning appliance. MP’s will be debating Eddie’s Carbon Monoxide Safety bill for its second reading in the House of Commons on 19th January on this topic.
Approximately 50 people needlessly die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning and thousands more are treated in hospital.
Carbon monoxide is produced when fuel doesn’t burn properly, usually from badly fitted or poorly maintained appliances. Common sources of CO are gas and oil boilers, gas hobs and fires, log burners, open fires and BBQ’s.
- Symptoms of CO poisoning (known as the silent killer) are often mistaken for something else, particularly colds and flu.
- Common symptoms include dizziness, headaches, nausea and generally feeling unwell.
- Alarms are the only way to detect CO poisoning as you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. With two-thirds of homes unprotected by an alarm, an estimated 40 million people are at risk.
- 80% of residents in properties that DO have an alarm admit that they have no idea whether it works or not as they never test it. More than 500 cases of CO poisoning in under 18s were reported in 2017.
- Make sure your gas appliances are initially installed and serviced regularly by a qualified GAS SAFE registered engineer.
- Know the symptoms, they are often mistaken for something else, like the flu.
- Get an alarm; it’s the only way to detect the deadly gas.
- Know what to do if your alarm goes off.
For more information, visit: projectshout.com
Image provided by Project SHOUT