Buying a house is the biggest investment anyone makes in their lifetime – yet two in three people don’t know if they are purchasing a potential death trap.
New research carried out by CORGI HomePlan has uncovered a shocking lack of safety checks being carried out by home buyers.
And with 1.2million property transactions taking place in the UK each year *, this means 800,000 homes are at risk of a life-threatening gas incident, such as a carbon monoxide leak, or expensive repairs to boilers, fires, radiators and cookers.
The study of 1,000 people, carried out by CORGI HomePlan to mark Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, revealed only one in 10 home buyers considered it important to check a property’s safety before moving in. While one in four (28 per cent) believed it was covered in the mortgage lender’s survey.
Most concerning of all, the most common item new homeowners overlook is the working condition of their boiler – with almost four in 10 (39 per cent) not getting a qualified engineer to test it.
Of the one third of respondents who did carry out a gas safety check before moving in, there was a wide misconception of what is a correct and legal safety check. As a result the ‘checks’ were often inadequate. This included:
- Less than half (46 per cent) researching when the gas appliances in the home were last professionally serviced
- One in three checking the boiler themselves, without having the professional qualifications to inform this procedure
- Three in 10 (29 per cent) checking the central heating system themselves, again without the right professional training to fall back on
The overwhelming majority (70 per cent) of the home buyers surveyed did not know that new home buyers can ask for a service record of all gas appliances in a home, including boilers, central heating, fires, cookers and portable heaters.
Scottish home buyers were the least home-safe conscious with 73 per cent of respondents having no gas safety checks carried out before deciding to purchase a home.
Wales was the safest region, with nearly eight in 10 respondents having a Gas Safe registered engineer check out their property before moving in. Londoners were least safety-conscious, with just 38 per cent from the capital doing the same.
The naive approach of homebuyers leads to the potential for things going wrong soon after new homeowners move in.
However four in 10 homebuyers who experienced problems with gas appliances after moving in took more than a week to get it repaired. The main reason for this was that it wasn’t urgent (30 per cent) or that the home buyers could not afford the repair (19 per cent) or were saving up for it (20 per cent). A worrying 16 per cent were unable to book an appointment with a professional to have the repair attended to.
Kevin Treanor, director of CORGI HomePlan, comments: “Buying a new home is an exciting time and one that often involves committing yourself to the limit of your finances.
“However, just as you wouldn’t commit to buy a property without seeing the surveyor’s report first, it is just as important that home buyers also see the full service record of all gas appliances and have a Gas Safe registered engineer inspect the home too.
“Carbon monoxide still kills around 50 people a year and every one of these deaths is avoidable. People must minimise the risks by making sure all their gas appliances are in full working order.”