Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in their properties, under measures announced by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis on March 11.
The measure, which is expected to take effect from October 2015, comes with strong support after a consultation on property conditions in the private rented sector.
England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected to support private landlords in their own areas to meet their new responsibilities with the provision of free alarms, with grant funding from government.
This is part of wider government moves to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety, while at the same time avoiding regulation which would push up rents and restrict the supply of homes, limiting choice for tenants.
Plumb and Parts Center’s Gail van Dijk, is delighted at the news.
“We’ve been pressing for the government to change building regulations through our campaign, Make CO Alarms Law, which has attracted thousands of supporters,” she said.
“We’re pleased the government has acted to make it compulsory for private landlords to install alarms in rental property, which will help save lives. We would like to see them go further and make it mandatory for alarms to be installed when all carbon-burning appliances are changed, which is already the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, we welcome this move as a first step in preventing deaths.”
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) says 40 people die every year from accidental CO poisoning and 4,000 people are treated at A&E departments with symptoms, which can lead to brain damage and strokes.
But chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, says the number of people affected by sub-lethal exposure is likely to be even greater than those reported.