HUD drafting rule to require carbon monoxide detectors in public housing

HUD drafting rule to require carbon monoxide detectors in public housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is drafting the first federal rule requiring carbon monoxide detectors in public housing, the agency announced Thursday.

“A simple, inexpensive, widely available device can be the difference between life and death,” HUD Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonCarson's affordable housing idea drawing undue flak Overnight Energy: Trump EPA looks to change air pollution permit process | GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule | Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules it says are too lax MORE said in a statement. “Given the unevenness of state and local law, we intend to make certain that CO detectors are required in all our housing programs, just as we require smoke detectors, no matter where our HUD-assisted families live.” 

The rule would cover public housing and Section 8 housing, as well as tenant-based or project-based housing choice vouchers, and supportive housing programs for the elderly and people with disabilities.

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HUD said it would go through a formal rulemaking process to require the carbon monoxide detectors, which could take months, NBC News noted.

HUD, meanwhile, urged landlords of federally subsidized housing "to make certain they have working CO detectors in all their housing units/buildings" in states where the detectors are required. The department also “strongly encourages” landlords to install the devices in places where they are not required by law.

According to NBC, about half of U.S. states require carbon monoxide detectors in some housing, but those mandates don't necessarily apply to older rental units.

The report comes in the wake of an NBC News investigation that found at least 13 residents of federally subsidized housing have died from carbon monoxide poisoning since 2003, including four in 2019.

Poison control centers receive 11,000 carbon monoxide exposure reports annually, according to the HUD notice. Carbon monoxide poisoning leads to more than 400 deaths a year, with death rates highest for men, the elderly and non-Hispanic blacks, the notice added.