The government must focus on urgently improving dangerous housing conditions across the country after new figures revealed that thousands of private tenants are at risk of death in their properties, according to the Chartered Institute of Environmental health (CIEH).
New analysis from The Times in the wake of the deaths of two men of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning living in unlicensed shared housing suggests that at least 375,000 tenants are living in homes with a potentially life-threatening fault, partly because some landlords are defying the rules on rental standards which were introduced to improve the quality of accommodation - leaving renters in substandard conditions.
Some 1.8million people reside in HMOs that do not have a carbon monoxide alarm, according to the English Housing Survey.
Tamara Sandoul, Housing Policy Manager at CIEH, said: “Far too many people are living in unsafe conditions, especially in the private rented sector. Improving dangerous housing should be a key priority for the government.”
Sandoul believes that local authorities should allocate adequate resources to housing teams to enable them to have the capacity and the expertise to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to finding rogue landlords.
She continued: “Whilst the size of the rented sector has increased dramatically, numbers of environmental health professionals simply have not kept pace. This must change.”
CIEH wants to see the government commit to a landlord registration scheme which would provide better information to local authorities, who are tasked with finding rogue landlords. Such schemes are already in place in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
“Carbon monoxide is a silent and odourless killer so tenants will not know if there is a danger,” Sandoul added. “We urge the government to introduce a requirement for carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in all Private Rented Sector properties with gas-powered boilers to help save lives.”