Landlord 101: Carbon Monoxide Safety in Residential Apartments
Approximately 500 non-fire Carbon Monoxide poisoning deaths and thousands more hospitalizations occur each year.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas produced by incomplete combustion. Solid fuel, liquid, or gaseous fuels can each, under certain conditions, produce lethal concentrations in any habitational occupancy.
While regular maintenance of gas-burning equipment in your units can minimize exposure to this potentially lethal gas, the possibility of a sudden failure of a gas-burning appliance can always exist and must be accounted for.
Consider these tips in your residential apartments to help protect against this silent killer:
- Every dwelling unit should be equipped with at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.
- Every dwelling unit should have at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm on each floor.
- It’s suggested, but not required, that you add alarms to rooms where fuel-burning appliances are located as a means of early warning.
- As the property owner, you should supply and install all required alarms.
- You should provide tenants with written information regarding alarm testing and maintenance in their lease agreements.
- The tenant should be notified of their responsibility for monthly testing and their responsibility to notify the property owner of any deficiencies that the tenant cannot correct.
- Tenants should be made aware of their responsibilities regarding the replacement of any required batteries in the carbon monoxide alarms in the tenants’ dwelling unit within in the lease agreement.
- The tenant should be notified that tampering with, removing, destroying, disconnecting, or removing the batteries from any installed carbon monoxide alarm, except in the course of inspection, maintenance, or replacement of the alarm, is punishable by law.
It should be noted that residential units (unless local building codes require) are not required to have carbon monoxide detectors if they meet all of the following criteria:
- The residential units do not rely on fuel-burning appliances for heat, ventilation, hot water, or cooking.
- The residential units are not connected in any way to a garage.
- The residential units are not close enough to any ventilated source of carbon monoxide as determined by the local building commissioner to receive carbon monoxide from that source.