By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

A new state law effective July 1 requires landlords to provide carbon monoxide detectors to many new residential tenants.

Specifically the law applies to new tenants in residences that have some potential source of carbon monoxide, including units that use fuel like natural gas, kerosene and other petroleum products, wood or coal for heating, cooking or other uses. It also requires detectors for homes with attached garages, or units connecting to vents that may have a carbon monoxide source.

The law is titled The Lofgren and Zander Memorial Act. Again, for rental owners it only applies to units receiving new tenants; landlords with existing tenants are not required to install them until they intend to lease it to a new person.

Starting April 1, 2011, any residential property – including single-family, duplexes and apartment buildings – sold or remodeled after that date must include them in the home. A remodel would be defined as any home project requiring a building permit, according to Patti Williamson, a co-owner and broker at Legacy Real Estate.

Derick Mosman, a property manager for Shelter Management, said his firm bought roughly 250 of the units. He said that while it only applies to new tenants, it’s being installed in all units with a carbon monoxide source.

“We’re getting them all into compliance now,” Mosman said. “It seems like a good thing. We, of course, want to provide safe places for people to live.”

Jackie Hove, manager of Keizer True Value Hardware, said she hasn’t seen an extremely recent uptick in sales, but said several residential landlords bought a boatload earlier this year.

“With those guys they went through and bought so many a week for about a month and a half,” Hove said. “And once they did all theirs it stopped.”

Williamson said brokers will eventually be required to produce a document certifying the home’s compliance with the new law before it can be listed. She said the law is on agents’ radar, even it would only currently apply to a small number of clients.

“In case someone is purchasing a home and they are going to use it as an investment property and the landlord relationship will be taking place (they) do need to be aware of that now,” Williamson said.

Carbon monoxide can be a silent killer. The American Medical Association lists it as the number one cause of accidental poisoning nationwide. And a 2009 survey by FirstAlert – which manufacturers carbon monoxide detection units along with smoke detectors – found 47 percent of Americans don’t have carbon monoxide detectors in the home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is an odorless and colorless gas found primarily in combustion fumes. It states the most common symptoms are headache, weakness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, chest pain and confusion. Eventually it can cause a person to lose consciousness and, eventually, die. According to the CDC, people sleeping in an area with carbon monoxide buildup can die of poisoning before they would even experience symptoms.

The reason, according to the CDC, is that red blood cells pick up carbon monoxide faster than oxygen, and a carbon monoxide buildup means oxygen in the body is replaced with carbon monoxide.