By Priya Bhatt, Esq.
California homeowners and landlords should note the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010 began taking effect this July. It required the installation of State-approved carbon monoxide detectors in many cases by July 1, 2011. These devices can be purchased at hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowes.
The purpose of the law is to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, making it the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S., according to the Legislature. The cost of injuries could be reduced by as much as 93% through the use of detectors, the Legislature has estimated.
Owners must install State-approved detectors (similar to smoke detectors) in all dwellings, including single family homes, condominiums, and apartments, which have a fossil-fuel burning heater or appliance, a fireplace, or an attached garage.
“Fossil Fuel” means coal, kerosene, oil, wood, fuel gases, and other petroleum or hydrocarbon products, which emit carbon monoxide as a byproduct of combustion. Examples include a gas stove, gas heater, kerosene heater, or fireplace.
The deadline to install devices for existing single-family dwelling units was approximately one month ago, or July 1, 2011.
For all other existing dwelling units (such as apartment complexes), the installation deadline is next year: January 1, 2013.
Violations are punishable by a fine of $200 per offense, but property owners should receive a 30-day notice allowing them to correct the problem before the fine is imposed. The civil fine is separate from problems that might arise if the lack of a detector caused injury to tenants.
For those seeking further information, provisions of the Act are found in Health and Safety Code section 13260 et seq. and section 17926 et seq., or please contact Schorr Law, www.schorr-law.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 310-954-1877.
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