Baltimore County, Md. – Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith announced today that he will introduce legislation on November 16 that would require all rental dwellings in Baltimore County to have carbon monoxide detectors within the next 12 months.

State law already requires hard wired detectors in dwellings built after January 1, 2008.This bill would apply to all rental properties.

Tenants would be required to test and maintain the detectors.

Smith says the bill would fine landlords up to $200 per day for every day they do not install the detectors.He says the bill will apply to 1,500 rental properties in the county.

Smith will formally introduce the bill at the County Council’s meeting on November 16.The council would take a final vote on the bill on December 21.

Statement from Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith Introducing the Legislation

Public safety is the foundation upon which everything else in our communities is built. If the people of Baltimore County do not feel safe where they live, work, and shop, our neighborhoods will not thrive and our businesses will not prosper.

When we speak of public safety, we often think of the courageous members of our Baltimore County Fire and Police Departments. These brave men and women do outstanding work everyday that is essential to the continued well being of our County.

Along with the work of our police officers, firefighters, and paramedics there is another important component of public safety, and that component is our commitment to maintaining a healthy environment in each and every one of our communities.

Today, we are addressing an issue that poses a serious threat to the health and safety of people in Baltimore County.Carbon Monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, but it is toxic to humans. In 2005, there were 895 recorded carbon monoxide incidents in our County. Last year, there were 1,355. By the end of 2009, we will have transported twice as many patients to the hospital for exposure to carbon monoxide than we did in 2008.

We have equipped our first responders with state of the art equipment to detect elevated carbon monoxide levels, but it is our responsibility to do everything we can to address this problem before carbon monoxide damage is done.

That is why on November 16th, I will introduce legislation that will require carbon monoxide detectors being installed in all rental properties in Baltimore County.

The legislation that we will introduce will amend the section of Baltimore County’s Livability Code that applies to rental housing, specifically the section that applies to Fire Safety and Protection.

Under the proposed legislation the owner of a rental property will be required to:

* Supply and install one or more carbon monoxide alarms in the common area outside of each sleeping area.

* Provide written information on alarm testing and maintenance to at least one adult occupant of the housing unit, and maintain a signed acknowledgment by this adult that the information was received; and

* Provide an alarm designed to alert hearing-impaired residents if an individual who is hearing-impaired occupies the housing unit and an occupant has requested the installation of the alarm by certified mail. The alarm must carry the listing of a nationally recognized testing laboratory approved by the State of Maryland.

Owners will have 12 months to comply with the legislation, and will be required to certify to the Director of Permits and Development Management that the units are in compliance.

By state law, all dwellings built after January 1, 2008 must contain hardwired carbon monoxide detectors.Under this proposed legislation, rental dwellings built prior to January 1, 2008, may have the alarm wired into an AC power line with a secondary battery backup, or plugged into an electrical outlet not controlled by a switch, with secondary backup, or battery powered.

Under the legislation to be introduced, tenants will also bear some responsibility:

* The tenant must test and maintain the carbon monoxide alarm according to management guidelines.

* They must replace the batteries in the detector as needed, and notify management by certified mail immediately of any malfunctions or other problems with the carbon monoxide detector, and upon such notice, the owner must repair or replace the carbon monoxide alarm.

* The tenant may not remove or disconnect the detector and may not remove the batteries or otherwise render the alarm inoperable.

This legislation is the result of a lot of hard work and I thank all of the County staff members who have made it a reality. I also thank all the members of the groups who represent the Multi Family Housing Associations across the State for working with us on this initiative.