Unsafe gas appliances have been found in a fifth (21%) of privately-rented accommodation, leading the Gas Safe Register to believe that more than 2.7million people could be living in dangerous housing.
Investigation data spanning five years by the Gas Safe Register reveals that gas heaters are the most dangerous appliance in rented accommodation, accounting for the majority (59%) of all unsafe appliances.
Unsafe and Unaware
A fifth of renters (19%) are unaware that their boiler should be safety checked annually, and half of this group (11%) don’t think their boiler has been inspected this year.
Despite landlords being responsible for ensuring that all gas appliances provided by them are safety checked every year by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer, more than a third (37%) are unaware of their duty of care. In fact, one in seven landlords (15%) think gas appliance safety is the responsibility of their local council.
Gas Safe Register found the following five regions to be most dangerous for harbouring unsafe gas appliances:
- West Midlands – 28%
- Wales – 19%
- East England – 19%
- Scotland – 18%
- North West – 17%
Jonathan Samuel, Managing Director for Gas Safe Register, said: “Gas safety can be a matter of life or death. The findings from the 122,000 inspections carried out by our team over the last five years show us that more unsafe appliances have been found in rented accommodation than in privately owned homes. However, any unsafe appliance can have devastating consequences, regardless of the type of property.
“We are urging renters, homeowners and landlords alike to make sure they know to get gas appliances checked on an annual basis and, as a legal requirement, to ‘trust the triangle’ by using a Gas Safe registered engineer.”
Independent expert Dominic Littlewood, commented: “With winter fast approaching, more and more people will be switching on their central heating, which, if not properly maintained, can kill.
“It is the law for every landlord in the country to get an annual check to make sure their tenants are gas safe, but whoever you are and wherever you live, gas safety should be on your radar. Get your gas appliances checked every year – the only way to do this within the law is to use an appropriately qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. Be safe as well as warm this winter.”
Homeowners are also confused about where responsibility lies in ensuring their household appliances are ‘gas safe’. Only half (49%) of homeowners realise it is their responsibility, while one in seven (14%) view gas safety as within the remit of the gas provider.
Gas Safe Register offers the following tips for gas safety:
- Check appliances annually – an annual gas safety check reminder service can be found via the Gas Safe Register website.
- Learn the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – although carbon monoxide (CO) has no smell, taste or colour, symptoms of poisoning include: headaches; dizziness; nausea; breathlessness; collapse and loss of consciousness – all of which can be mistaken for something else.
- Recognise the signs of unsafe gas appliances – these include: a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame; soot or staining on or around the appliance; excess condensation in the room.
To find out about dangers in your area, and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer call 0800 408 5500 or visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk
If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.