New figures from the Gas Safe Register have warned that around 900,000 homes could be at risk from a gas explosion, fire or leak resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning.

The UK's official gas safety authority has been inspecting nearly 43,000 homes nationally since January last year, and found that more than one in five (22%) privately rented homes were at risk. The 900,000 figure is an estimate of when all 4.1 million privately let homes are taken into account. This figure was noticeably higher than homes privately owned or rented through a local authority/housing association, which were at 16% and 12% respectively.

As per the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, landlords are legally required to ensure that all gas appliances and flues at safe in the properties they let. This involves arranging annual safety checks from a registered gas engineer. The legal requirement doesn't stretch to homeowners, but is also highly recommended by experts. A registered gas engineer is one who will have completed all the relevant gas training and gained the necessary qualifications, and then joined the Gas Safe Register - something which is also a legal requirement for gas engineers.

To combat this alarming figure, the Gas Safe Register is urging tenants and landlords alike to sign up to a free annual gas safety service reminder at StayGasSafe.co.uk, where users will receive an email telling them when their appliances are due for a check. In addition to these checks, landlords are also responsible for any repair work required to appliances or pipework. Should they not fulfil these obligations then they face prosecution, resulting in fines or even imprisonment in extreme cases.

Sarah Hill, Stakeholder Relations manager for Gas Safe Register, said: "Signing up for an annual gas safety reminder can help landlords stay on the right side of the law and most importantly, keep their tenants safe."

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