One out of every twenty private renters in Scotland claim that they have suffered carbon monoxide in their home over the last five years. This is according to research carried out for the energy supplier Scottish Gas and Shelter Scotland.
Two-fifths of those who were surveyed said that their landlords or letting agents had failed to carry out the correct safety checks on the gas in their homes. This had lead to 5% of them suffering some form of carbon monoxide poisoning. 7% of them said their home had experienced a gas leak within this period.
Shelter Scotland’s director Graeme Brown said he was outraged by what was happening. He stated:
It is shocking to think that in thousands of households across Scotland there are disasters waiting to happen because a simple safety check has not taken place. For households with children, this is an even bigger concern. Renters have a right to know that the property they are living in is safe.
It is absolutely vital that tenants are aware of the need to get an annual gas safety check. Meanwhile, landlords need to know that gas safety is not optional. Failing to get a gas safety check can and does put lives at risk.
To improve housing conditions in the private rental sector, Shelter Scotland has agreed to co-operate with Scottish Gas. This is Scotland’s arm of British Gas, one of the United Kingdom’s Big Six energy companies that control the market.
An engineer for Scottish Gas, Paul Dailly, advised tenants about the ways that they can check to make sure the gas in their home is functioning as it should. Mr. Dailly said:
There are vital checks people can do to keep themselves and their families safe. Looking for signs of staining, sooting or discolouration on, or around, your gas boiler, fire or water heater; keeping vents in doors, walls or windows clear; making sure your chimney is not blocked and checking pilot lights and other gas flames to ensure they burn blue are all simple tests that can be done to help protect your home and everyone in it.
The research was carried out for Scottish Gas and Shelter Scotland by YouGov. It questioned a total of 1387 people who are privately renting their homes to gather their data and information.
Carbon Monoxide accounts for 50 fatalities and 4000 A&E admissions every year. The NHS calculate that it costs £178 million every year to treat it.