The deaths of two young children from carbon monoxide poisoning on a Thomas Cook holiday highlight the need for new UK regulations coming into force later this year, an expert at CPBigwood has warned.
Residential Lettings Partner, Louise Kean, said the case, which pricked the national consciousness after a coroner ruled the youngsters had been unlawfully killed, was a “terrible tragedy”.
The two children were overcome when fumes seeped from an outhouse into their bungalow at a four-star hotel on the Greek island of Corfu.
But Ms Kean, citing NHS Choices, cautioned that every year in the UK over 200 people go to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, resulting in around 40 deaths. And that is why landlords will in October be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties.
Ms Kean said: “The Shepherd case was truly awful, rightly became the focus of huge attention, yet in many ways is just the tip of the iceberg. “OK, it happened abroad but it could just have easily been here. The annual UK death toll from carbon monoxide poisoning is horrific and shows how badly needed are these new regulations.
“Landlords and property agents will rightly be expected to lead the drive to get alarms fitted on time. I think everyone understands that these extra responsibilities are vitally important.”
The changes to the law require landlords to install smoke alarms on each floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy. Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is in place.Those who fail to act would face sanctions, up to a £5,000 civil penalty.
Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because you can’t see it, hear it, smell it or taste it. A headache is the most common symptom of mild carbon monoxide poisoning. Others include dizziness, nausea and vomiting, tiredness and confusion, stomach pain, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.But they catch people out because such symptoms are also typical of food poisoning and the flu.