Leeds property news: Time to put safety first in our homes

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Sometimes it is easy to hear some statistics and believe we now know the full picture but when it comes to home safety, it pays to do the research and act upon the findings, writes YEP Homes guest columnist Luke Gidney, director of Let-Leeds.

A recent report showed that more than half of Gas Safe-registered engineers have had to switch off a customer’s gas appliance in the past year because it posed an immediate risk to life or property. It stated its engineers had prevented deadly gas incidents in 68,000 homes and estimated one in six houses could have an unsafe gas appliance.

Powerful statistics that highlight the need for vigilance and safety when it comes to our homes or properties we rent to others. Especially when you consider gas explosions are nowhere near the biggest hazards we face in the home. While gas safety is subject to enforceable laws, the major dangers posed by both electricity and carbon monoxide do not attract the same amount of attention or legislation.

When we at Let-Leeds first made detailed enquiries into gas safety we were stunned to learn there was no legal requirement for a rental property to have a carbon monoxide detector. At present, we are working to ensure all our rental properties have such a detector installed and working by November 1.

Another fact worth noting is that electricity causes 20,000 fires annually. This means it is accountable for more than half of all accidental UK house blazes each year. Added to this, around 70 people are killed and 350,000 are seriously injured each year due to an electrical accident in the home. Compared to 20 years ago, our homes now have two, three or even four times as many electrical appliances in them. Yet there is a shortage of legislation on domestic electrical safety.

With this in mind, there is pressure coming from some organisations to make it compulsory for each home to have a periodic inspection report every five years. We would advise landlords to take steps immediately even though they don’t have to. Such measures may not be compulsory; they may mean a little extra effort and investment. But, as the figures show, they could well save lives.

The statistics are alarming and can lead us to recognise more needs to be done for people’s safety. We have to be more aware of hazards in the home and we have to take responsibility for maximising safety.

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