'Worrying' number of home buyers don't carry out gas safety checks

Published:  08 December, 2016

Buying a house is the biggest investment anyone makes in their lifetime, yet two in three people don’t carry out a gas safety check before moving in, leaving them at risk from fuel-burning appliances.

Research carried out by CORGI HomePlan has uncovered a shocking lack of safety checks being carried out by home buyers, with only one in 10 considering it important to check a property’s safety before moving in. One in four (28%) believed it was covered in the mortgage lender’s survey.

With 1.2 million property transactions taking place in the UK each year, this means 800,000 homes are at risk of a life-threatening gas incident, such as a carbon monoxide leak, or expensive repairs to boilers, fires, radiators and cookers.

The study of 1,000 people was carried out to mark Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week. The most common item new homeowners overlook is the working condition of their boiler - with almost four in 10 (39%) not getting a qualified engineer to test it.

Of the respondents who did carry out a gas safety check before moving in, there was a wide misconception of what is a correct and legal safety check. As a result the ‘checks’ were often inadequate. This included:

● Less than half (46%) researching when the gas appliances in the home were last professionally serviced

● One in three checking the boiler themselves, without having the professional qualifications to inform this procedure

● Three in 10 (29%) checking the central heating system themselves, again without the right professional training to fall back on

The overwhelming majority (70%) of the home buyers surveyed did not know that new home buyers can ask for a service record of all gas appliances in a home, including boilers, central heating, fires, cookers and portable heaters.

Scottish home buyers were the least safety conscious with 73% of respondents having no gas safety checks carried out before deciding to purchase a home.

Wales was the safest region, with nearly eight in 10 respondents having a Gas Safe registered engineer check out their property before moving in.

The naive approach of homebuyers leads to the potential for things going wrong soon after new homeowners move in.

However four in 10 homebuyers who experienced problems with gas appliances after moving in took more than a week to get it repaired. The main reason for this was that it wasn’t urgent (30%), followed by not being able to afford the repair (19%) or saving up for it (20%). A worrying 16% were unable to book an appointment with a professional to have the repair attended to.

Kevin Treanor, director of CORGI HomePlan, comments: “Buying a new home is an exciting time and one that often involves committing yourself to the limit of your finances. However, just as you wouldn’t commit to buy a property without seeing the surveyor’s report first, it is just as important that home buyers also see the full service record of all gas appliances and have a Gas Safe registered engineer inspect the home too.

“Carbon monoxide still kills around 50 people a year and every one of these deaths is avoidable. People must minimise the risks by making sure all their gas appliances are in full working order.”

For a checklist of safety visits tips for home buyers visit: http://corgi-homeplan-how-safe-is-your-home.org/safety-tips/home-buyers/.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Dragon Images

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