Carbon Monoxide Detectors: It’s the Law

If you’re a California landlord, you need to be aware of what state law says about carbon monoxide detectors in dwelling units. In 2010, state lawmakers passed a law that requires any dwelling with an attached garage or a fossil fuel-burning heater or fireplace to have a carbon monoxide detector. Failure to abide by the law could result in hefty fines. More importantly, landlords can be held liable for property damage and personal injuries that result from a carbon monoxide leak.


The carbon monoxide detector requirements can be found in California Health & Safety Code Section 17926.1, which includes requirements for maintenance and permission-to-enter notifications with respect to tenants.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by a variety of gas-burning appliances, such as dryers, stoves, and furnaces. Any appliance that produces exhaust also produces carbon monoxide. Incomplete combustion and poor ventilation can result in carbon monoxide poisoning when a person inhales too much of the gas. In an apartment complex, carbon monoxide can easily spread from unit to unit, affecting many people.


Carbon monoxide poisoning can vary from minor to severe. Symptoms can include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and disorientation – all symptoms of other health conditions, including influenza and the common cold. Because early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning frequently mimic those of other ailments, many emergency rooms overlook carbon monoxide as a cause for illness, leading to a failure to diagnose.


When carbon monoxide poisoning is acute, it can cause significant and sometimes irreversible brain damage. Symptoms of brain injury caused by carbon monoxide poisoning include short term memory loss and difficulty performing mental tasks that previously presented no problem for the sufferer. Carbon monoxide poisoning can damage a person’s hearing and balance and may even result in seizures. In the most severe cases, it leaves the victim in a permanently unconscious state with little or no brain function.


Because the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning can be so serious, it’s important for landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors as required by law and to perform maintenance on all detectors to ensure they are in working condition.

California Eviction and Real Estate Law

Attorney Kirkman J. Hoffman has more than 20 years’ experience representing commercial and residential landlords, owners, and property managers in Silicon Valley and the surrounding regions. Contact the team at Hoffman Law Group today at (408) 241-9620 to discuss your real estate or eviction matter.


This website has been prepared by Hoffman Law Group, APC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.