‘Accidental landlords’ putting tenants’ lives at risk

‘Accidental landlords’ putting tenants’ lives at risk

‘Accidental landlords’ could be putting the lives of tenants at risk because they are not aware of their legal obligations.

The number of accidental landlords – those renting out property because they cannot sell it – has boomed to more than 230,000 while the number of buy-to-let landlords has plummeted.

New research has also shown that a record number of families are renting privately as home ownership declines.

Paul Durose, CEO of Gas Tag, commented: “The number of accidental landlords has soared in the UK in the last few years and we’re extremely concerned that many don’t even know their legal obligations to their tenants.

“This lack of basic safety knowledge means that thousands of people renting in the UK could be putting their lives at risk.”

By law, landlords are obliged to ensure gas appliances are checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and must provide tenants with a Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days of the annual check taking place.

One in six homes is said to have a dangerous gas appliance and gas fires are the biggest risk with a third checked by the safety authority deemed unsafe.

Landlords also need to install a working smoke alarm and, since October 1st 2015, regulations require CO alarms in rooms with a solid fuel appliance. It is reported that, over 4,000 people are hospitalised each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The landlord or owner must also ensure that electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy and electrical appliances must be checked on change of tenancy or at least every five years.

If it’s a privately rented home, statistics show that there is a higher risk of electric shock and there are 2,469 electrical fire incidents reported each year in the UK.

A survey by Gas Tag discovered that many tenants are not even aware of the legal obligations of their landlords.

The survey revealed:

  • 28% either didn’t have or did not know if their rented home had a Gas Safety Certificate – the legal requirement;
  • Almost a quarter (24%) did not think their landlord was obliged to install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm if there was a solid fuel burning source like wood or coal;
  • 81% did not know that a landlord is responsible for checking all electrical appliances every time a new tenant moves into a property;
  • 50% still think their gas engineer should be Corgi registered – it changed to Gas Safe Register almost 10 years ago;
  • 36% wrongly thought they were – rather than the landlord was – responsible for electrical safety in the rented home;
  • Almost a third (29%) did not realise you should call the National Grid helpline if they smell gas in or around the home.

Paul added: “Our findings reveal that there is a huge amount of confusion about what someone’s landlord is responsible for.”

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