The Safer Tourism Foundation is calling for all holiday rental landlords to “wipe out” the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning for holidaymakers by installing alarms and carrying out stricter checks.

The charity, which aims to reduce the number of preventable deaths, injuries, and illnesses occurring to people on holiday, has commissioned research that shows less than half of the properties listed on peer-to-peer rental sites have a carbon monoxide alarm.

Forty people have died or been injured as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning while staying in a tent, caravan, holiday cottage or boat in the last two years, the charity said.

It recommends all tourists ask holiday accommodation providers about the carbon monoxide measures in place when making their booking to raise awareness of the seriousness of this issue with landlords.

The Safer Foundation was founded following the deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, while on holiday in Corfu in 2006.

AirBnB and HomeAway already make it clear whether the properties listed on their sites have carbon monoxide alarms in place and Safer Tourism – during Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (November 18-24) – is urging all other accommodation booking platforms to follow suit.

The charity wans all rental properties to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed, and published a list of places to buy alarms.

It is also calling for property information sheets to be updated to include the symptoms of carbon monoxide so guests can recognise the signs and know what to do, and calling on landlords to have appliances serviced regularly and to publish relevant certificates as part of the property information.

Carbon monoxide – a colourless, odourless, poisonous gas – caused by incorrectly installed or poorly maintained household appliances – delivers a potentially lethal impact for anyone who inhales it.

The toxic gas can even seep in from adjacent properties, so even if holiday accommodation providers have taken appropriate safety checks, without an alarm, guests could still be at risk from the building next door.

Katherine Atkinson, chief executive of Safer Tourism Foundation, said: “Whether you rent out a cottage, caravan, boat or campervan to visitors and guests in the UK or abroad, installing a carbon monoxide alarm that complies with local safety legislation is the only proven method to alert guests whether this toxic gas is present.

“Despite the tremendous efforts of listing sites to encourage holiday homeowners to provide a safer experience for guests, our research shows that less than half of the short term let accommodation available in the UK through peer-to-peer rental platforms has a carbon monoxide alarm installed. Yet in the last five years, cases of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning have increased by a quarter in holiday hotspots such as the south west and have doubled on the east coast.

“We are calling on all listing platforms to reinforce the need for accommodation providers to install carbon monoxide alarms and for hosts and holiday homeowners to educate visitors about carbon monoxide and its effects by providing fact sheets that alert guests to the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and advising them on how to respond.

“And we want holidaymakers to improve landlords’ and hosts’ approach to carbon monoxide by asking about the risks at the property – whether there is an alarm? When were the appliances last serviced? Customer demand will raise awareness of this important issue.”

Patrick Robinson, director of public policy at Airbnb, said: “Our community’s safety is our priority and we are committed to supporting safe hosting. All AirBnB Plus listings are visited in-person and must have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Last year we introduced global measures to provide additional resources and clarity, and flag to guests so they are aware of listing amenities, such as a fire or carbon monoxide alarm, and can take precautionary steps where needed. This, together with our work with the National Fire Chiefs Council, is all part of our continued efforts to protect hosts and guests on AirBnB, wherever they are in the world.”

HomeAway also advises its partners on holiday home safety measures via its website and will roll out a free online safety-self-assessment in the UK soon.