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Select Committee backs APPCOG’s call for better tenant protection from carbon monoxide

Select Committee backs APPCOG’s call for better tenant protection from carbon monoxide

25th April 2018

The House of Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee have given their support for stricter regulation on landlord responsibilities for carbon monoxide alarm provision in the private rented sector.

UPDATE: Housing Minister Dominic Raab MP has announced a review of regulations governing when carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in homes. The review will look at whether existing regulations are fit for purpose, and what changes might be necessary to better protect people from carbon monoxide poisoning. Read the full article here.

Following correspondence with Barry Sheerman MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Carbon Monoxide (APPCOG), earlier this year, the Committee’s report on the Private rented sector (published on the 19th April 2018) recommended that private landlords should be legally obliged to provide carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in the rooms of rented properties containing any fuel-burning appliance. This amendment to existing regulations was suggested in the APPCOG’s November 2017 Carbon monoxide alarms: keeping tenants safe and secure in their homes report. Now it is one of a number of recommendations the Committee made to the Government on how to tackle poor housing standards at the lower end of the private rented sector and better protect tenants.

The Committee’s report stated:

“We note that other parliamentary inquiries have also concluded that current legislation can be confusing to both landlords and tenants. For example, in October 2017, the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) published a report which found that the that the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 were confusing and risked inadvertently turning landlords into ‘rogue landlords’. It called on the Government to amend the legislation to make it explicit and mandatory for landlords to provide carbon monoxide alarms in the rooms of private rented properties containing any fuel-burning appliance…

“We support the finding of the All-Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group (APPCOG) that legislation should be amended to make it explicit and mandatory for landlords to install carbon monoxide alarms in the rooms of private rented properties containing any fuel-burning appliance.”

Currently, landlords are only required to provide CO alarms in rooms with solid-fuel burning appliances. This proposed change to cover all fuel-burning appliances would help protect the 2.7 million renters in the private rental sector currently at risk from dangerous fuel-burning appliances and CO poisoning. Regulation covering all fuel-burning appliances is also clearer for landlords, reinforces their sense of responsibility for gas safety in their properties, and makes it easier for them to comply and for Local Authorities to carry out their duties.

Barry Sheerman MP, APPCOG Co-Chair, said of the report:

“I am delighted that the Committee has backed APPCOG’s recommendation for a change in the law so private landlords are required to provide CO alarms in rooms containing any fuel-burning appliances.  With one in five households now living in private rented accommodation, it is right and proper that all tenants should be kept safe and secure in their homes. This recommended change in the law will not only make regulation simpler for landlords to follow, but help keep people safe from carbon monoxide.”

The Committee and other invested groups such as the APPCOG are now awaiting the government’s response to the report and its recommendations.

If you would like to read the full report of the House of Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on the Private rented sector, you can do so here.

You can find APPCOG’s ‘Carbon monoxide alarms: tenants safe and secure in their homes’ report and more details on our work on the APPCOG website. For any other information or to sign up to our monthly newsletter for the latest Carbon monoxide parliamentary news, please email georgina.bailey@policyconnect.org.uk