The survey of UK tenants revealed that a staggering 36% are renting properties that have out-of-date gas safety certificates.
Even more worrying, 26% of tenants questioned who have lived in the same property for more than 12 months have never had a gas safety engineer visit the property or been provided with a gas safety certificate by their landlord during their tenancy period.
Landlords are legally required to perform an annual gas safety check on their properties to ensure that all gas fittings and appliances are operating safely and efficiently. It is the 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 by Spareroom.co.uk highlights that many landlords are failing to adhere to this basic legal requirement and could face 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 Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 18 people died and 310 were injured in the UK last year from gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Matt Hutchinson, director, flat and house share website, Spareroom.co.uk commented: “All landlords have a legal obligation to carry out an annual gas safety check, but our research suggests that many, for whatever reason, are not doing so. Failure to carry out this check is potentially putting thousands of tenants at risk, and if a tenant is injured in the property — or worse — by a gas-related incident, the landlord could well face prosecution.
“One of the main reasons why gas safety checks are not being carried out is a lack of knowledge on the part of the landlord, in particular amateur landlords, who many not even realise they need a gas safety certificate. With the explosion in the number of amateur landlords over the past two years, this could well be a growing problem.
“While professional landlords have many years of experience and know the tenancy rules and regulations inside out, amateur landlords who buy second properties to rent out as a long-term investment may not have any previous experience of the rental market. This means they may not be aware of their legal obligations, particularly if they’ve advertised for tenants privately, rather than through a letting agent.
“It is vital that anyone thinking of renting out a property gets to grips with their responsibilities as a landlord, and keeps up to speed with any regulatory changes. Too many landlords are clearly forgetting their responsibilities once tenants are in place.”