Owning rental property is an excellent investment, offering regular profits and a more stable situation than other opportunities, such as the stock market. However, in order to manage rental property successfully, a landlord has to fulfill their end of the rental agreement by keeping the unit maintained and in keeping with local regulations. Some property owners choose to hire rental property management companies to handle these responsibilities. But however these properties are managed, many communities agree that taking proper care not only keeps areas looking respectable, but can also save lives. For this reason, rental properties and apartments in Pennsylvania will now be required to have carbon monoxide detectors under state law. And while this will likely mean extra work for some, most rental property managers and property owners agree that the change is an important one.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is an unfortunately common occurrence throughout the state. Take Lancaster County, for example: last year, local emergency services responded to 66 calls of people sickened by the odorless, colorless gas. In the last winter alone, carbon monoxide left two people in critical condition, sickened a family of four and is believed to have killed two brothers, who were using their gas oven to heat their homes. The gas was also responsible for the tragic deaths of a couple in November 2014, after carbon monoxide from a car in their attached garage seeped into their home.
A number of laws regarding carbon monoxide detection have already been instituted, with state residential codes requiring carbon monoxide detectors in new homes, as well as one or two-family dwellings with heaters that burn fossil fuels. For this reason, a number of rental properties will likely already have carbon monoxide detectors. However, municipal officials are actively informing landowners and rental management services about the change, as well as enforcing the new code.
Non-compliance with the new law is punishable with a fine of up to $50, not an insignificant sum when you consider that the carbon monoxide detectors themselves only cost between $20 and $50 themselves. However, officials say that property owners could also face legal liability as well. While most in Pennsylvania seem to support the new law, this makes it the perfect example of why rental property management companies and property owners need to stay updated on local and state codes.