Tenants at risk from ‘postcode lottery’ of gas safety checks

Published:  10 October, 2017

People living in many of the UK’s five million privately rented properties are caught in a gas safety ‘postcode lottery’.

Around 40 local authorities currently operate a Landlord Licence Scheme in their area, which includes the need for landlords to demonstrate that they have met the legal requirement for an annual gas safety check in each property they own.

This leaves huge swathes of the UK without such a scheme and, even where there is a scheme, many councils are failing to enforce the need for annual checks.

Gas Tag uses technology to help landlords, housing associations and local authorities track and manage servicing and other gas work across all of their properties.

Paul Durose, co-founder and CEO of Gas Tag, said: “It is nothing short of a disgrace that many people living in the UK’s five million rented homes have no idea if an annual gas safety check has been carried out by a legitimate engineer and, if actions are required, that they have been carried out.

“Councils are increasingly helping to improve standards but are under so many financial pressures that a significant number will almost certainly not be checking the certificates that are sent in to them. For tenants, that’s actually worse than a postcode lottery.

“It means many rogue landlords are running free and tenants are in the dark as to whether they have a good, legally compliant landlord or one that is less scrupulous. We know that the vast majority of landlords are doing their bit to provide safe homes for their tenants. It’s the dishonest landlords who are slipping through the net and putting people’s lives at risk.”

In total, there are believed to be 1.75 million landlords responsible for the five million privately rented properties in the UK. There are a further 4.5 million rented homes in the social housing sector.

Supported by a number of MPs and industry figures, Gas Tag would like to see the introduction of an MOT-style system to ensure strict enforcement of gas safety checks.

Paul said: “When a car goes for an MOT, it is subject to industry standard checks, yet a gas boiler can be issued with a safety certificate with little more than a quick visual check. Some rogue gas fitters are even approving boilers without visiting a property while others backdate records.

“It’s not even enough to check your own boiler, but your neighbour’s too. There have been incidences of people being poisoned by a neighbour’s faulty boiler after deadly fumes have seeped through an adjoining loft.”

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