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Rental properties must have carbon monoxide alarms

Real Estate Report
By Lauren Bunting | Dec 07, 2017

(Dec. 8, 2017) If you own rental properties, an important change is taking effect as of April 1, 2018 – carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in all rental dwelling units.

This requirement came out of 2016 Maryland General Assembly legislation, House Bill 0849 and its companion Senate Bill 0182. This new requirement applies to any new or existing rental dwelling units.

Specifically, this legislation requires that a carbon monoxide alarm be installed outside of each sleeping area and on every level to include the basement in a building that contains any fuel burning equipment, wood burning appliance or has an enclosed attached garage. They are not required in rental dwelling units that are powered solely by an electric power supply.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office describes carbon monoxide as a colorless, tasteless, and potentially toxic gas that is produced by the incomplete combustion of liquid fuels, solid fuels, or natural gases. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause symptoms similar to the flu, such as: headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness and irritability. High concentrations of carbon monoxide can cause vomiting, loss of consciousness, and even death. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur in small amounts over a long period of time and in large amounts in a short period of time.

The state fire marshal’s office also gave the following instructions:

• Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired with a battery backup,

• Battery powered that has a ten year battery with a sealed tamper resistant compartment, or

• Connected to an on-site control unit that monitors the carbon monoxide alarm remotely so that a responsible party is alerted when the device activates the alarm signal and receives its primary power from a battery or the control unit.

The office recommends multi-family units replace the current hard-wired smoke alarm with a combination smoke alarm/carbon monoxide alarm unit.

Although the legislation doesn’t take effect until next April, it is recommended that carbon monoxide alarms be installed as soon as possible. A nationally recognized testing laboratory, approved by the Office of the State Fire Marshal, must list carbon monoxide alarms.

Common sources of carbon monoxide include: furnace, water heater, dryer, barbecue, stove, car, fuel fired fireplace, blocked vents or chimney, and portable fuel fired generator. Another safety recommendation is to have all of your fuel burning appliances inspected annually.

— Lauren Bunting is a licensed

Associate Broker with

Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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