Since 2015, landlords in the private sector have been required, by law, to install Carbon Dioxide detector alarms in their rental properties, that have fixed gas appliances, such as, gas boilers or fires; but social housing was excluded from the directive.

Social housing is categorised, as owned, and managed by non-profit organisations, or by the state, with the housing association or council, acting as landlord. A government consultation exercise, started in November 2020 and finished in January of this year, asked for views on the proposals, to extend the same requirements to social housing, as there is currently on the private sector.

It seems ridiculous that the government even needed a consultation period, since there are in excess of 4.2 million homes in the UK that are rented from a local authority or housing association, with 20% of the population living in them. Why has it taken 6 years to bring social housing, up to the same standard as the private sector you ask? Probably because the government, via local authorities, will have to pay out for their purchase and installation.

The junior housing minister Eddie Hughes, jumped on the righteous bandwagon in the press release issued at the end of November saying – “I’m proud that the new rules being proposed, will ensure even more homes are fitted with life-saving alarms. Whether you own your home, are privately renting, or in social housing – everyone deserves to feel safe, and this is an incredibly important step in protecting those at risk.”

So, the proposals will require that a carbon dioxide alarm is installed in any room used as a “living room,” where a fixed combustion appliance is used. This excludes gas cookers; and is primarily meant for protection from gas boilers or fires. Also, landlords are to ensure that there are, at least one smoke detector on each floor of the property. The proposals will seek that legislation is amended, so that landlords have the obligation to repair or replace smoke and CO2 alarms, when notified that they are faulty. The directive does not state whether alarms will be installed, for those who already have and use, gas fires or boilers; it talks about when such appliances are changed for new ones. Considering the older models of gas appliances are more likely to be hazardous than new ones, one hopes that this isn’t the case.