9:21 AM, 30th May 2023, About 6 months ago 2
Propertymark has thrown its weight behind proposals for stricter regulations to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in residential properties.
The organisation for letting agents has teamed up with cross-party think tank Policy Connect and the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group.
The move comes after the Welsh Government’s consultation was unveiled on the mandatory installation of carbon monoxide alarms in all residential buildings across Wales.
The aim is to amend existing guidelines, making it compulsory to install carbon monoxide alarms alongside flued fixed combustion appliances in all residential dwellings – including private rented houses.
The ground-breaking policy will cover various fuel types, including oil, gas (including LPG) and solid fuel.
Tim Thomas, Propertymark’s policy officer, said: “The safety of contract holders (In Wales tenants are now known as contract holders) and all that are within a property must be paramount, especially with regards to carbon monoxide so by extending the regulations it will provide additional levels of protection.
“However, we know that for the private rented sector in Wales, ensuring properties are compliant and safe must be achieved in a practical and deliverable way for landlords and their letting agents.”
Propertymark argues that while carbon monoxide-related deaths may appear relatively low, they are preventable tragedies.
It says that some medical experts believe that cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are often misdiagnosed and underreported, potentially resulting in a higher number of fatalities and injuries.
The Welsh government’s proposal is to modify Building Regulations that will make it mandatory to fit carbon monoxide alarms alongside the installation of any flued fixed combustion appliance, regardless of the fuel type.
However, the industry body is also urging the government to extend the regulations to include carbon monoxide alarms in integrated spaces like garages and lofts that house flued devices connected to the main house.
While these may seem well-ventilated, Propertymark believes that carbon monoxide can still accumulate and seep into the main living area.
And since household boilers are increasingly being placed in garages and lofts, Propertymark is emphasising the need to install carbon monoxide alarms in these spaces.
While acknowledging the challenges that landlords and agents face on the first day of occupancy, Propertymark says that conducting carbon monoxide alarm checks might not always be feasible.
Especially for agents managing multiple check-ins simultaneously, so adjustments may be necessary.
Also, the body points out that current regulations only require carbon monoxide alarms to be in good working order, with no specific testing requirements.
It says this is inadequate for tenant safety and recommends introducing testing obligations before each tenancy starts, with regular intervals throughout the tenancy, such as every six months.
Kevin Herron, the secretariat of the all-party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG), said: “We welcome seeing the expansion of carbon monoxide alarms to all residential dwellings where there is an installation of a flued fixed combustion appliance of any fuel type.
“As well as causing fatalities, sub-lethal levels of carbon monoxide are linked to cardiovascular issues, neurological disorders, falls and loss of mobility, visual impairments, and problems with cognition, with children and pregnant women being particularly vulnerable.
“Carbon monoxide alarms can protect people from this deadly poison.”
Propertymark’s full consultation response can be read on its website.
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