There is no doubt that carbon monoxide build up in a home can be deadly. After some notable cases of tragic carbon monoxide deaths in Colorado a statute was enacted to require carbon monoxide alarms in rental homes.

The Law

Colorado C.R.S. § 38-45-101 et seq requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in rental dwellings that are single-family or multi-family in two cases.

  1. If the dwelling unit includes any petroleum or hydrocarbon fuel-fired appliances, or has an attached garage where, on or after July 1, 2009, interior alterations, repairs, petroleum or hydrocarbon fuel-fired appliance replacements, or additions (any of which requires a building permit) occurs or where one or more rooms lawfully used for sleeping purposes has been added.
  2. If the single-family dwelling or the existing unit in a multi-family dwelling that is used for rental purposes has had a change in tenant occupancy on or after July 1, 2009.

If the premises meets one of the two cases above and does not have a centralized alarm system, Colorado law requires that the premises have an operational carbon monoxide alarm installed within fifteen feet of the entrance to each room lawfully used for sleeping purposes or in a location as specified in any building code adopted by the state or any local government entity.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Specifications

The carbon monoxide alarms that are installed must meet certain specifications to comply with the law in Colorado. They are the following:

  1. produces a distinct, audible alarm;
  2. is listed by a nationally recognized, independent product-safety testing and certification laboratory to conform to the standards for carbon monoxide alarms issued by such laboratory or any successor standards;
  3. is battery powered, plugs into a dwelling's electrical outlet and has a battery backup, is wired into a dwelling's electrical system and has a battery backup, or is connected to an electrical system via an electrical panel; and
  4. may be combined with a smoke detecting device if the combined device complies with applicable law regarding both smoke detecting devices and carbon monoxide alarms and that the combined unit produces an alarm, or an alarm and voice signal, in a manner that clearly differentiates between the two hazards.

Landlord's Obligations

The landlord is obligated to not only provide the carbon monoxide alarm but must also reasonably inspect and maintain the device. If a carbon monoxide alarm is missing for any reason or found non-operational after the previous tenancy the landlord must replace it. Batteries for the device must be provided at the outset of the tenancy and the alarm must be replaced if the tenant notifies the landlord that it is either missing or non-operational during the term of the tenancy.

Tenant's Obligations

The tenant has similar obligations regarding the carbon monoxide alarm. These obligations include keeping the alarm in good repair, not removing the batteries, and notifying the landlord if the device is missing, stolen, or non-operational or has any deficiencies. It is important to note that any notifications from the tenant to the landlord concerning the carbon monoxide alarm must be in writing. If the tenant fails to notify the landlord in writing the tenant is responsible for the maintenance, repair, or replacement of a carbon monoxide alarm or the care and replacement of batteries for the alarm.