2015-09-30 / Front Page

Time To Power-Up Carbon Monoxide Detectors

By Liz Goff
City fire officials are again urging Queens residents to check batteries in Carbon Monoxide detectors and replace them as required.

Carbon monoxide (CO2) is a highly toxic gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating. It is also poisonous and can be fatal. The warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness and nausea, city fire officials said.

A 2004 law mandating installation of the devices was designed to prevent CO2-related tragedies. Under the law, landlords and tenants share responsibility for maintenance and continued operation of the devices. The following is a breakdown of those responsibilities

  • Landlords must provide and install at least one UL-approved carbon monoxide detector in each dwelling unit in buildings they own. The alarms must be installed within fifteen feet of the entrance to each bedroom.
  • Landlords must file a Certificate of Satisfactory Installation to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) office in Queens, within 10 days from the date of installation.
  • Landlords must post a notice, in a form approved by HPD, in a common area of the building informing tenants of the requirements of Local Law #7 (Carbon Monoxide Compliance Law).
  • Landlords must provide tenants with written information regarding the testing and maintenance of carbon monoxide alarms – including general information on poisoning and what to do if the alarm sounds.
  • Landlords must keep records on the installation and maintenance of the alarms, and they must maintain the alarms β€œin good repair.”
  • Tenants are required to reimburse landlords $25 for each alarm installed in their apartment or unit. Under the law, landlords must provide the alarms, and tenants cannot install their own carbon monoxide detectors.
  • If landlords install carbon monoxide detectors with batteries that can be replaced, the landlord must provide new batteries before the devices stop working.
  • If landlords install carbon monoxide detectors with a power system that cannot be replaced, the landlord must replace them with UL-approved devices before they stop working.

HPD inspectors will issue violations to landlords for their failure to install the detectors. Failure to install detectors is a Class B Violation that carries civil penalties ranging from $25 to $100, and an additional $10 per day for each violation. Failure to provide proper notices to tenants or certificates of installation is a Class A Violation carrying possible civil penalties of up to $50.

Tenants who experience difficulty with landlords regarding replacement devices or installation of new batteries should call 311 for assistance.

Under the law, tenants are not allowed to replace batteries on Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Landlords must replace devices or batteries and make notification when the replacements are completed.

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