Media Release: Tenants’ gas leak fears prompt new call on landlords to meet safety responsibilities

AROUND five per cent of private tenants across Scotland say they have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning in their home over the last five years, according to new research.

Says a spokesperson for housing charity, Shelter Scotland: “A YouGov poll of 1,387 private renters in Scotland showed that five per cent of tenants had experienced carbon monoxide poisoning in the past five years – equivalent to 15,250 households. Around 51 per cent of renters have had a safety check and certificate provided by their landlord.

“The poll – conducted on behalf of Shelter Scotland and Scottish Gas – also showed that seven per cent of tenants say they have experienced a gas leak in the past five years and 43 per cent of tenants said their landlord or letting agent did not carry out gas safety checks within the past five years.

“At a time when more people are becoming landlords and the private rented sector is growing, this research highlights the importance of tenants and landlords having access to accurate advice and information on their responsibilities.

“Carbon monoxide can be produced in both gas and any fuel burning appliances.

“Shelter Scotland and Scottish Gas are calling on landlords to ensure they meet their gas safety responsibilities thereby doing all that is possible to protect their tenants from gas related carbon monoxide poisoning and gas escapes.”

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, says: “It’s 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’s 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.”

Scottish Gas engineer, Paul Dailly, says: “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 isn’t 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.”

Shelter Scotland and Scottish Gas have joined forces in a unique partnership to improve homes in the private rented sector.


Notes to Editors:

1. Shelter Scotland and Scottish Gas commissioned a YouGov. Fieldwork took place between 11th December 2013 and 16th January 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all private renters in Scotland (aged 18+). All population estimates have been calculated by Shelter Scotland.
2. All household estimates were carried out by Shelter Scotland, based on the Scottish Government’s Housing Statistics for Scotland.
3. Questions: a) Thinking about your current home, and any other properties you may have lived in over the last five years (i.e. since December 2008)…Which, if any of the following have you experienced? (Please tick all that apply on each row) – A gas leak b) Thinking about your current home, and any other properties you may have lived in over the last five years (i.e. since December 2008)…Which, if any of the following have you experienced? (Please tick all that apply on each row) – Carbon monoxide poisoning c) Thinking about living in a private rented property which, if any of the following have you experienced concerning your current property and in the past five years_? (Please tick all that apply on each row) – My Landlord/letting agent did not ensure gas safety checks were carried out
4. Shelter Scotland helps over half a million people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and we campaign to prevent it in the first place. We’re here so no-one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own. For advice and support visit or call 0808 800 4444.
5. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
6. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – Twitter –
7. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that kills around 20 people every year in the UK.
8. All appliances that burn fuels (including coal, wood, oil or gas) can emit Carbon Monoxide if they have insufficient ventilation.
9. CO is a colourless, odourless and tasteless, so is important to have a reliable alarms to give an audible warning should a dangerous level be identified
10. Even low levels can starve the brain of oxygen and cause lasting damage.
11. People with health problems, children and expectant mothers are more vulnerable.

Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.

PRESS RELEASE issued by Shelter Scotland. You too can post your story ideas for journalists (aka Press or media releases), on Email for more information.

Contact: Shelter Scotland