LANDLORDS would be forced to install carbon monoxide detectors to prevent tragic deaths from poisoning, under Government plans.

Ministers are considering a crackdown to reduce “the risks to tenants in rented properties” from faulty gas appliances leaking the deadly gas.

The move was immediately hailed as a breakthrough in the long campaign to properly protect people from carbon monoxide poisoning, particularly in rented homes.

The Northern Echo launched its Silent Killer campaign after the death of Anne Brennan, a 19-year-old student from Houghton-le- Spring, Wearside, in digs in Durham City, in 1995.

An inquest ruled Anne was unlawfully killed and her landlord was fined £10,000 for failing to ensure the boiler in the property was properly maintained.

Clive Betts, chairman of the Commons Local Government Committee, hailed the Government for listening to its pleas for action.

He said: “Much more must be done to tackle the threat of the silent killer. Carbon monoxide detectors are inexpensive and save lives.

“The Government should require all rented homes to be fitted with an audible, wired-up carbon monoxide detector wherever a relevant heating appliance is installed, as the committee has recommended.”

Over a 15-year period, 38 people in the North-East died from carbon monoxide poisoning and nearly 300 had a lucky escape, the CO-Gas Safety charity found.

Meanwhile, eight out of ten households across the region do not have an audible carbon monoxide alarm, according to separate research.

The crackdown was revealed by Baroness Stowell, a junior minister, who promised a “formal review of the rules and regulations relating to carbon monoxide alarms in rented homes”

She told the House of Lords: “This will consider the technical questions of how best to ensure safety in the home, given the overlapping regimes of building regulations, fire safety and housing standards.

“We will be looking at the requirement for landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors.

“Among a range of measures that we will be introducing is guidance for local authorities to help them prosecute rogue landlords and press for the maximum possible penalties.

“From next month, the courts will be able to take account of a landlord’s assets and not just their income, as at present, when determining an appropriate fine.”

The minister was also urged to ensure electrical safety tests at least every five years in rented properties.

And peers were told of no fewer than 85,000 complaints against rogue landlords, two-thirds of which related to dangerous gas and electrical installations.

Carbon monoxide, which has no smell, can be emitted from the burning of wood, oil and petrol. Injuries include kidney failure, blindness, brain damage, memory loss and incontinence.