Survey reveals lack of safety knowledge among landlords and tenants

Landlords in the UK, particularly so called accidental landlords, are being urged to make sure they are aware of and understand the latest safety obligations for renting out property.

By law, landlords are obliged to ensure gas appliances are checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and must provide their tenants with a Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days of the annual check taking place.

Landlords also need to install a working smoke alarm and, since October 2015, regulations require carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with a solid fuel appliance.

The landlord or owner must also ensure that electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy and electrical appliances must be checked on change of tenancy or at least every five years.

But a new survey suggests there is lack of basic knowledge among landlords and tenants with many people renting in the private rented sector not aware of the legal obligations of their landlords.

The research by Gas Tag found that 28% of respondents either didn’t have or did not know if their rented home had a Gas Safety Certificate and 24% did not think their landlord was obliged to install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm if there was a solid fuel burning source like wood or coal.

It also found that 81% did not know that a landlord is responsible for checking all electrical appliances every time a new tenant moves into a property while 36% wrongly thought they, rather than their landlord, should be responsible for electrical safety.

Their also appears to be a lack of knowledge on safety organisations. Some 50% of those surveyed thought a gas engineer should be Corgi registered but this scheme changed to Gas Safe Register almost 10 years ago. Also, 29% did not realise they should call the National Grid helpline if they smell gas.

‘Our findings reveal that there is a huge amount of confusion about what someone’s landlord is responsible for. This lack of basic safety knowledge means that thousands of people renting in the UK could be putting their lives at risk,’ said Paul Durose, chief executive of Gas Tag.

‘The number of accidental landlords has soared in the UK in the last few years and we’re extremely concerned that many don’t even know their legal obligations to their tenants,’ he added.