Research shows over 10% of tenants potentially at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

10% of tenants potentially at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Over one in ten tenants in the private rented sector could be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, research has revealed.

Housing charity Shelter and energy supplier British Gas polled over 4,300 tenants in England and found that over 10% do not receive annual gas appliance services and gas boiler services from their letting agent or landlord. Extrapolated nationwide, this means that nearly one million English renters could have domestic appliances that leak deadly carbon monoxide or that could catch fire or even blow up.

This is the latest in a long line of research that has illustrated the negligence some private landlords have towards their gas safety obligations. Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, landlords must ensure that all gas appliances in all their properties are maintained properly and are serviced annually, and landlords that do not adhere to these regulations can be prosecuted in criminal courts. Nonetheless, homes in the private rented sector are far more likely to have dangerous gas appliances than privately-owned houses or social houses.

The disproportionate dangers faced by private tenants could be explained by the results of a separate landlord survey conducted by British Gas and Shelter, which found that 15% of landlords are unaware that they are legally required to organise annual gas safety checks and provide tenants with safety certificates.

Gas safety checks, gas boiler services and gas appliance servicing are vital in preventing carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions. They will also identify a range of problems, including boilers that are likely to experience breakdowns.

247 Home Rescue, which provides gas boiler services and boiler breakdown cover, believes the safety failings uncovered in the private rented sector are shocking. The issue may be due to the rise in ‘accidental landlords’, or people who had no intention of investing in rental accommodation but have done so due to financial problems or difficulties in moving house.

The private rented sector is also a more lucrative investment opportunity than it was before the Credit Crunch. This has attracted rogue landlords to the sector. Rogue landlords are only interested in maximising their profits, and are cited as the reasons behind a range of different scandals, including ‘beds in sheds’. It is almost certain that any landlord willing to charge someone for a bed in a shed is not going to perform annual gas safety checks in the shed.

What can tenants do to stay safe?

Some of the most important warning signs that indicate a safety issue with gas boilers or other gas appliances include:

– Soot, stains or discolouration around gas appliances

– Lazy yellow flames rather than sharp blue flames

– Flames that blow out constantly

There are a number of steps tenants can take to reduce their risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, fire or explosion. These include:

– Contact landlords to remind them of their obligations if they are failing to ensure gas appliances are serviced annually

– Keep vents and flues clear

– Keep chimneys clear

– Ask landlords to urgently arrange repairs when problems arise

– Threaten to leave the property if the landlord does not perform boiler repairs or gas safety checks. Landlords will view the financial costs of an empty property as greater than the cost of bringing their property up to scratch.

Author’s Bio:

Kevin Burke writes about energy-related matters for boiler breakdown cover and gas appliance service specialists 247 Home Rescue. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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