Landlords will be required to install carbon monoxide alarms in social housing rooms with gas appliances, under new Government plans. With a huge increase in energy bills this winter, it is feared property owners may forgo servicing their appliances in a bid to afford rising living costs, leaving Brits at risk of accidental poisoning.
More than 50 people died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in 2019 across England and Wales, with more than a third of those deaths taking place at home.
Only 42% of all properties had a carbon monoxide alarm, according to figures from the English Housing Survey.
Under the proposals, rogue landlords will not be able to use the alarms as an excuse to avoid repairing and servicing their gas appliances while keeping records of its safety with a certificate.
The rules also require smoke alarms to be fitted in all social housing, following a commitment in the Social Housing White Paper published last year.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said renters deserve the right to feel safe in their homes.
But the Shadow Housing Secretary said the measures do not go far enough to protect Brits. Lucy Powell said: "Over four years on from Grenfell, the Governments progress on building safety had been glacial.
“Almost all social homes already have a smoke alarm, yet it took them a year to consult on this small measure, which doesn’t go far enough.
“Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people, including those with social landlords, are trapped in flats they cannot sell.”
Yet Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, said: “I’m proud that the new rules being proposed will ensure even more homes are fitted with life-saving alarms.”
Landlords are required to have gas safety inspections in their property every year, and be able to supply tenants with gas safety certificates. It follows a two-month public consultation in which some respondents urged the Government to force landlords to install a specific type of carbon monoxide alarms, as they have done with smoke alarms. But officials did not deem this necessary.
Officials state the new measures will "require private and social landlords to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where a fixed combustion appliance is used".
Shadow Justice Secretary Alex Cunningham said the measures have come a little too late.
“As someone who worked in the gas industry and knew families who lost loved ones as a result of gas faults, I’ve seen first-hand the terrible impact of carbon monoxide poisoning," he said.
“These recommendations are not before time. Around sixty people a year in England and Wales die of carbon monoxide poisoning and these expanded regulations will go some way to saving lives.”