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One in ten renters at gas safety risk

One in ten people who privately rent their home could be at risk from gas safety hazards, Shelter and British Gas warn today.

Research commissioned by the two organisations questioned more than 4,300 private renters in England and found that one in ten – the equivalent of more than 900,000 people - said that in the last year their landlord or letting agent had failed to ensure a gas safety check was carried out in their home.

An annual gas safety check and certificate is required by law, and is the legal responsibility of the landlord. Gas safety checks pick up a range of problems including faulty boilers, and are vital in helping to prevent gas leaks, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning - all of which can kill. Landlords who fail to meet gas safety regulations in the homes they rent can face fines and even imprisonment.

Yet a separate survey of landlords by Shelter and British Gas found that one in seven (15%) landlords is unaware of their legal responsibility to ensure that their properties have an annual gas safety check and certificate.

CASE STUDY: Susan and her 15 year old daughter have been living in their privately rented home for 11 years. Despite continual requests, no gas safety certificate was issued for the property until two years ago. During this time they had three gas leaks and long periods with no central heating or hot water.

Susan says: “It’s really horrible not to feel safe in your own home. We had several gas leaks before we finally got a gas safety certificate, and now I’m having to fight all over again for the next one. I worry especially about the impact on my daughter. This is not a nice way to have to live or to bring up a child.”

Shelter and British Gas are calling on landlords to ensure they meet their gas safety responsibilities. Until 30th June 2013 British Gas is offering a free CP12 gas safety certificate to landlord customers who sign up for their Homecare insurance package. To find out more visit www.britishgas.co.uk/whatwedo

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said
: “It’s shocking to think that in thousands of households across the country there are accidents waiting to happen because a simple safety check has not taken place. For households with children, this is an even bigger concern. Renters have a right to know that the property they are living in is safe.

“It’s absolutely vital that renters are aware of the need to get an annual gas safety check. Meanwhile, landlords need to know that gas safety is not optional. Failing to get a gas safety certificate can put lives at risk.”

British Gas engineer Andy Maddocks said: “There are vital checks people can do to keep themselves and their families safe. Looking for signs of staining, sooting or discolouration on, or around, your gas boiler, fire or water heater; keeping vents in doors, walls or windows clear; making sure your chimney isn’t blocked and checking pilot lights and other gas flames to ensure they burn blue are all simple tests that can be done to help protect your home and everyone in it.”

Last year, Shelter and British Gas joined forces in a unique partnership to improve homes in the private rented sector. More than a third (35%) of privately rented homes fail the government’s Decent Homes Standard.


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