Depending on where you live, the odds of your landlord being required to provide a carbon monoxide detector are going up. Many states, as well as individual cities, are passing new laws that require the detectors in rental units. On the state level, Maine, Washington and New Hampshire are among the most recent to create new laws.
Your apartment may have come with a carbon monoxide detector already installed. You may need to check with your landlord on whether you’re responsible for replacing batteries. In some buildings, the landlord may also have installed a detector somewhere out of the way or not easily accessible to tenants, like in closets or other hidden spots around an apartment. If you’re looking for a new apartment, it’s worth asking before you move in. If you’re already living in your apartment, ask your landlord or the complex manager.
To check the laws in your area, click here. The website maintains an up-to-date list of legislation covering carbon monoxide detectors by state. Unfortunately, the site typically provides a PDF of the local laws, rather than simply describing the situation in each state. This means you might need to wade through some legalese to determine the exact requirements for landlords in your area. Once you’ve done that, though, getting a landlord to add a carbon monoxide detector to your apartment may just be a matter of telling him that there’s a law requiring him to do so — and you’ll already have the law in front of you. In the event that your landlord isn’t willing to meet the local requirements for installing, your options for taking the matter to an authority differ by state. In some cases, the local housing authority may be your best option.
If you don’t already have a detector installed in your apartment, it’s worth asking your landlord about installing one even if it’s not required by law. Many landlords are willing to add a carbon monoxide detector without much argument. You can also choose to purchase a carbon monoxide detector on your own. They can cost as little as $20. If you’re not sure what to look for in a detector, this list of the best carbon monoxide detectors can be a good starting point.