According to the department of health, carbon monoxide poisoning accounts for around 50 deaths and results in nearly 4000 medical cases each year. Research by campaign group Project SHOUT has uncovered that nearly half (47 per cent) of people renting a private property in the South West have not had a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm installed by their landlord. A similar number of residents across the UK either don't have a CO alarm installed by their landlord or they're not sure (10 per cent). This means that nearly 60 per cent of the UK’s nine million private tenants (around 5.4 million households) may well be unprotected from this silent killer – deaths that could easily be prevented by fitting an alarm that costs less than £20.

This revelation follows a recent study that unveiled only 46 per cent 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.

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. MPs will be debating Eddie’s Carbon Monoxide Safety bill for its second reading in the House of Commons on 19th January on this topic.

Nest, the carbon monoxide alarm manufacturers estimate that over 250,000 households are at risk from carbon monoxide build up in the UK. Don't wait for an absent landlord to act. Fit a £20 carbon monoxide alarm, today. It could save your life.