Thousands of people were left at risk after Camden Council failed to address fire safety failings in tenants' homes, the Government's housing regulator says.

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) today (July 21) revealed that more than 9,000 of Camden's homes do not have a smoke alarm installed and around 4,000 do not have a carbon monoxide detector.

Investigators reported that the council demonstrated a failure to act in a timely manner and to mitigate the risks to tenants in the meantime.

The watchdog said it expects the council to take "urgent action" to address this.

Ham & High: Camden leader Georgia Gould said she 'won’t be content until every [fire] action is complete'Camden leader Georgia Gould said she 'won’t be content until every [fire] action is complete' (Image: PA Archive/PA Images)

RSH chief of regulatory engagement Kate Dodsworth said: "Through our investigation, we found that Camden Council has failed to address thousands of fire safety actions in its tenants’ homes.

"This is unacceptable and has put tenants at potential risk of harm. The council needs to act urgently to put things right, and we will scrutinise it closely as it does this."

She said the findings sent "a clear message" to all social landlords that meeting health and safety requirements "is of paramount importance".

"Tenants deserve to live in safe and decent homes, and we will take action when landlords breach our standards," she added.

Camden Council leader Cllr Georgia Gould said that since 2017, when Magdalena Fink, a 35-year-old paralegal, died in a blaze at her council-maintained block of flats Daleham Gardens, Hampstead, the council has invested significantly in improving safety.

She said: "There is nothing more important than the safety of our residents and we are taking this notice very seriously.

“Six years ago, I said fire safety was our first priority and that we would invest in a new era of resident safety. We have done exactly that."

She said the council was investing more than £200 million in a wide range of safety improvements, and had published all fire risk assessments (FRAs).

But she said "there is still more work to be done".

Cllr Gould said some changes, such as the removal of security grilles, were difficult for residents and the council would work alongside tenants to complete them.

She added: "I won’t be content until every action is complete and that’s what our teams are working on delivering right now."

Camden has made more than 40,000 gas safety checks, regular electrical tests and fire risk assessments and fire alarm tests since 2020 and in 2021 introduced its Fire and Building Safety Charter, which guides this work.

She added: “Our focus has been on meeting the standards required by FRAs, but we also want to get to an even higher standard across the board, a standard of excellent housing that our residents deserve. 

“To do this we need government to back us after years of underinvestment 
nationally in council housing. This includes direct cuts to rental income."