As part of its ongoing commitment to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing, HUD has announced that all federally-assisted units must be equipped with carbon monoxide detection systems no later than December 27, 2022.
Notice 2022-01, published on January 31, 2022 and co-signed by HUD’s Offices of Public and Indian Housing (PIH), Housing (H), and Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH), confirmed that the requirement applies to units covered under Public Housing, Project Based Rental Assistance, Housing Choice Vouchers, Project-Based Vouchers, Section 202, and Section 811.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless toxic gas that is produced as a byproduct of fuel combustion. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) note that more than 400 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires. Many of those die in their sleep and never experience the frightening symptoms experienced by more than 20,000 Americans whose exposure sends them to the emergency room or the more than 4,000 people who end up hospitalized. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result in permanent brain damage, life-threatening cardiac complications, fetal death, miscarriage, and, of course, death.
Stoves, space heaters, ranges, generators, lanterns, fireplaces, and grills can all emit carbon monoxide. Without proper installation, usage, and maintenance, these everyday fixtures in our homes can produce the carbon monoxide gas at hazardous levels.
This new federal requirement comes on the heels of the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The Act set aside funds to assist in keeping Americans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of those funds will be dedicated to landlord/tenant outreach and education about the dangers of carbon monoxide.
PHAs may use their Operating Funds or Capital Funds to purchase and install carbon monoxide detectors. Owners of properties with units subsidized by either Project-Based or Tenant-Based Vouchers are responsible for covering the expense on their own. Projects covered under a Project-Based Rental Assistance contract or under the Section 202 or 811 programs can use their reserves for replacement, residual receipts, general operating reserves, owner contributions, or choose to seek secondary financing to fund the installation project.
The notice stresses the importance owners, agents, landlords, and other public housing officials must place on properly installing and maintaining carbon monoxide-producing fixtures. Residents should avoid using portable generators, fired grills, or fuel-burning electric sources as a source of heat indoors. A flyer on resident education is forthcoming, and additional materials will continue to be made available on HUD’s website for free.