• 61% of tenants could be living in properties with out-of-date gas safety certificates

• Renters whose properties have never had gas safety checks rises from 22% to 26%

Wednesday 18 September 2013 – More than six in ten (61%) tenants could be at risk from faulty gas fittings and appliances because landlords are failing to carry out required annual gas safety checks, according to a survey of 1,850 renters conducted by the UK's leading flat and house-share website, SpareRoom.co.uk.

The latest survey of UK tenants revealed that a staggering 37% are now renting properties that have out-of-date gas safety certificates – up from 34% two years ago. More than a quarter (26%) of renters had never seen a gas safety check carried out while they had been renting the property – up from 22% in 2011 – while one in 10 (11%) said the last gas safety check, which must be completed annually, was carried out more than 12 months ago.

An additional 24% of tenants surveyed were not aware that a gas safety check had been carried out in the last 12 months but could not be certain either way, which means as many as 61% of renters could be at risk from unsafe fittings and appliances across the UK. That's up from 56% in 2011. The table below compares the results of surveys on gas safety carried out by SpareRoom in 2011 and 2013:

Gas Safety Check stats

Click to enlarge

Source: SpareRoom.co.uk

Landlords are legally required to perform annual gas safety checks on their properties to ensure all gas fittings and appliances are operating safely and efficiently. It's a landlord's responsibility to arrange for a registered Gas Safe engineer to carry out this check, and to provide tenants with a copy of the gas safety certificate to prove that a gas safety check has been carried out.

The survey highlights that more and more landlords are failing to adhere to this basic legal requirement, leaving tenants at risk of injury and landlords at risk of prosecution if a tenant was to suffer a gas-related injury or died as a result of a gas leak or explosion.

According to the latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 4 people died and 333 were seriously injured in the UK last year from fire exposure, explosions, carbon monoxide poisoning and other forms of gas-related exposure.

Matt Hutchinson, director of SpareRoom comments: "Landlords have legal obligations to carry out annual gas safety checks but it seems awareness is slipping.

"The current boom in buy-to-let has exacerbated the problem. While most professional landlords know the rules and are diligent in getting checks carried out, many amateur landlords may not even realise they need a certificate. It's crucial that those thinking of letting properties or rooms get to grips with their responsibilities as landlords, and keep up to speed with any regulatory changes. Too many landlords are clearly forgetting their responsibilities once tenants are in place."

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