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Tenant suspects foul play after landlord allegedly fixes gas leak hazard: 'The gas smell still remains'

"Carbon monoxide levels were off the charts."

"Carbon monoxide levels were off the charts."

Photo Credit: iStock

Living in a rented apartment can be affordable and involve less responsibility than homeownership. However, a bad landlord can have disastrous outcomes, from fire safety to flood risks, and irresponsible property management possibly putting you and your family at risk. 

One renter took to Reddit to ask for advice on how to deal with a neglectful landlord and a potentially risky gas leak. 

In the post shared to r/Boulder, this Colorado resident wrote about their unfortunate experience: "Plagued by problems and a super sketch management company who refuse to fix most of the issues. The latest is leaking gas coming from our boiler in the basement. … The landlord sent round a 'contractor' to fix it. He apparently 'cleaned the vents' and cracked open the basement door, to let the gas out into our yard. But the gas smell still remains outside."

This poster thought the landlord had installed carbon monoxide detectors, but they were simply smoke detectors. 

Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, so it can be very hard to know when you have been exposed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 100,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 14,000 are hospitalized." 

For this reason, most states in the U.S. have some sort of requirement for CO detectors in homes, care facilities, or other dwellings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

The commenters were very concerned for this tenant and gave some very helpful advice. One person wrote: "Call Xcel Energy and tell them you have a minor gas smell and are a bit concerned. They will come out and check to see where the leak is."

Another agreed, writing: "Call Xcel report gas leak, owner will be required to fix after they shut off gas to entire property. If he does not fix, City will fine him."

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In response to this and several other comments, the original poster wrote an update saying: "I called Excel, based on the advice given by folks in the thread…and they came round and shut down the entire system after carbon monoxide levels were off the charts. … We're both getting our blood checked for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning."

Lucky for this person they seem to have avoided any serious health issues, but it seems they are going to have to move. Their landlord even had the gall to call them "difficult tenants."

Lots of states have support for tenants, and U.S. News shares resources for tenants, but it can be very hard to deal with a difficult landlord. Sometimes you can work with your landlord to advocate for better rules in a homeowners association, but often it can unfortunately be easier to move, rather than try to fight with neglectful management.

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