The Baltimore County Council voted unanimously on legislation to require Baltimore County rental property owners to install carbon monoxide detectors in all units that are heated by fuel-burning units and those directly attached to enclosed parking areas.

This comes on the heels of 1,355 fire department responses to carbon monoxide calls in 2008, and the Baltimore County Fire Department expects that number to be above 1,400 for 2009.

Baltimore County rental unit owners will have eight months to comply with this new law, which begins 45 days from its signing on December 21.

The Baltimore Sun’s Mary Gail Hare reported on this new legislation in an article today. Here are more details on the law:

Landlords must also provide information on alarm testing and maintenance to at least one adult tenant of each unit. The tenant is responsible for maintaining the device and for replacing its batteries.

Property owners who violate the new ordinance would initially receive a correction notice, but no fine. Failure to comply after the notice would authorize the code enforcement inspector to impose a fine of $200 per day for each day the violation persists.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors are a good idea for homeowners in Towson as well, as many homes have natural gas or oil burning heat. I personally just ordered one for my house, because a friend recently had her alarm go off, thank goodness, as their boiler had failed, and CO2 at unsafe levels entering their home. They have an infant and a toddler daughter. Luckily with the alarm, they spent the night out of the house and with the boiler fixed, were able to return home safely. She credits the detector with saving their lives.

You can find Carbon Monoxide Detectors at many stores, the prices ranging from $30-$60.

A worthwhile investment for your family is a portable gas detector, and now a required investment for many Baltimore County rental unit owners.