Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless lethal gas. Unlike other environmental hazards, such as lead, CO can not be covered up or masked. If your landlord has a regular maintenance program, it should prevent the hazards caused by a malfunctioning appliance or clogged vent. But even the most careful service programs may miss an unexpected problem, such as the blocking of a chimney by a bird’s nest. Fortunately, relative inexpensive carbon monoxide detectors are available that can monitor CO levels and sound an alarm if the levels get too high. Your landlord may already provide a CO monitor; this is a requirement in some states, such as California.
If you have a carbon monoxide detector and want the landlord to check it as a preventive measure, use the Sample Letter Asking for Check of CO Detector included here. If the landlord has not installed a carbon monoxide detector, edit the letter and ask the landlord to do so.
In cases where you suspect a carbon monoxide problem, you’ll want to do more than just send your landlord a letter. See How to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Problems in Rentals for more detailed advice and resources on carbon monoxide health hazards.