By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Alert for landlords over dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms - a critical issue for landlords in light of recent legislation - are back in the news thanks to figures from London Fire Brigade.

The LFB says it’s being called to 10 per cent more carbon monoxide incidents in homes than five years ago, yet some 32 per cent of households appear not to have an alarm.

Research by comparison service Uswitch, working with LFB, shops that over 3,000 incidents related to carbon monoxide in homes were attended by firefighters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 12 months.


Household appliances such as gas fires, boilers, central heating systems, water heaters, and cookers are possible sources of carbon monoxide, which is a tasteless, odorless and invisible gas. 

London Fire Brigade - the UK’s busiest fire service - recorded the highest number of incidents of those that responded to Uswith's Freedom of Information requests. 

It saw 2,019 call-outs related to carbon monoxide in 12 months, which is the equivalent of 58.9 incidents per 100,000 households. 

The 27 other fire services that responded to the research attended 3,236 incidents related to carbon monoxide in homes in 2020, compared to 2,954 in 2016 - a 9.5 per cent rise.

Of those who have a carbon monoxide detector, a quarter of households say they would not know what to do if the alarm went off.

Even among the three quarters who said they would know what action to take, the majority did not mention all the recommended steps, such as turning off appliances, opening doors and windows, getting out of the property and calling a qualified technician.

One of the most common sources of carbon monoxide in homes is the boiler. Uswitch says it is recommended that boilers are serviced annually to ensure they are operating safely and at peak efficiency. 

However, more than a quarter of households have not had their boiler serviced in over a year, in many cases because of the pandemic. 

Overall, a fifth say they only get their boiler serviced every two years or more, and seven per cent only get a service when there is a problem. 


A spokesman for London Fire Brigade, comments:  “We have developed a specific response to incidents involving carbon monoxide, so we are well aware of the risks and how devastating it can be for victims and their families.

“We would encourage everyone to get a carbon monoxide alarm for their home to keep them and their family safe. Many households don’t have CO alarms, whereas around 85 per cent have a smoke alarm so there is a real need to raise awareness of the dangers and the importance of getting an alarm.

“Poisoning symptoms can easily be confused with just feeling unwell, which is why CO poisoning is so dangerous and so often missed.”

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

  • icon

    CO alarms cost under £20. Surely responsible tenants should buy them to protect their families?


    All depends what is in the tenancy agreement. It should state whether this is the tenant's or the landlord's responsibility. But isn't it being checked every year as part of the annual gas inspection?


    Nonsense! Common sense should apply and sensible tenants should want to ensure that they and their families are safe, for the sake of under £20.

    Virtually all landlords provide these in any case but many tenants steal the batteries for their Sky TV remotes. I now fit sealed alarms that can't have batteries stolen.

    I also spend around £1000 initially, £300 every 5 years and £100 annually for each property to fit, renew and check mains operated fire/smoke alarms - only needed because some tenants can't be trusted to retain or renew batteries in cheaper versions.

    Another example of the feckless hurting the decent responsible tenants as rents now reflect these additional costs which could have been avoided by all tenants showing the same sort of common sense exhibited by nearly all owner occupiers.

  • icon

    I have a little old lady in a house in Lowestoft, went out there with an electrician to do the electrical test before Christmas, she has a gas fire in her living room so I asked her where the co2 alarm was, she produced it out of a draw, she had put it there because it kept going off.


    Why did it keep going off, as you say, Andrew?


    David W. Why does it matter? Are you looking for a reason why the tenant should have immediately demanded a limo to take her to the Dorchester to escape the intolerable noise?

    Surely it must be Andrew's fault as the landlord because everything is?

    If he hadn't provided it, it wouldn't have caused the old lady such inconvenience!

    I'm astonished the Council hasn't prosecuted him for such lack of care and consideration!

    As usual, you're missing the point. Whatever the reason, the tenant should have reported it to the landlord and not ignored it.

    The specific reason is irrelevant as the alarms are there to alert the tenants to potentially lethal dangers but they must take responsibility for their own safety.


    David W I just knew someone would come back with that one, I think Robert has answered that perfectly though.

  • George Dawes

    I fit all my boilers outside with outside ventilation flues and have detectors installed on a ring main with battery backup too just in case

    You can never be too careful with this terrible thing

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Must say, I did wonder why the Co2 alarm was going off, was there an escape - fault ?


    All sorted

  • George Dawes

    Maybe going all electric isn’t such a bad idea after all

    No more gas safety checks , no more danger from carbon monoxide or gas explosion leaks , no more boiler maintenance ripoffs . Just one power source to worry about . If the electricity is down the boiler won’t work anyway.

    Personally I hate gas . Good bloomin’ riddance


    I agree some of my properties are all electric even though there is gas available.

  • George Dawes

    Apparently the electric pump things are expensive but I’m sure after a few years they pay for themselves compared to gas with its maintenance and danger issues


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up