Scottish renters among most at risk from dangerous gas appliances

Gas Safety Week Heating EngineerMore than a third of landlords in Scotland are unaware of their responsibility to check gas appliances, despite dangerous appliances being found in a fifth of privately-rented accommodation, new research has revealed.

Campaign body Gas Safe Register found that unsafe gas appliances have been found in 18 per cent of privately-rented accommodation in Scotland, making it one of the most dangerous areas in the UK.

Scotland is behind only the West Midlands, Wales and the East of England in terms of the proportion of inspections which found unsafe gas appliances. Investigation data spanning five years by Gas Safe Register reveals that throughout the UK, gas heaters are the most dangerous appliance in rented accommodation, accounting for 59 per cent of all unsafe appliances.

One in six renters in Scotland (15 per cent) are unaware their boiler should be safety checked annually, and two thirds of this group (10 per cent) 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 in the UK (37 per cent) are unaware of their duty of care. In fact, one in seven landlords (15 per cent) think gas appliance safety is the responsibility of their local council.

gas safe infographicHomeowners are also confused about where responsibility lies in ensuring their property is ‘gas safe’. Only half (49 per cent) of homeowners nationally realise it is their responsibly, while one in seven (14 per cent) viewing gas safety as within the remit of the gas provider.

Gas Safe Register has urged homeowners, landlords and renters to understand where responsibility lies when it comes to gas safety amidst current confusion.

Jonathan Samuel, managing director for Gas Safe Register, said: “Gas safety can be a matter of life or death. The findings from the 3,399 inspections carried out by our team in Scotland over the last five years show us that more unsafe appliances have been found in rented accommodation in this region than in almost any other part of the UK.

“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 said: “With winter fast approaching, more and more people will be switching on their central heating. If they are not properly maintained, they 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.”