Concerns have been raised about carbon monoxide safety precautions following a survey by Which? which found Edinburgh landlords’ knowledge lacking.
Undercover researchers were sent on 30 property viewings across Britain, including six in Edinburgh. Four out of six of the agents in Edinburgh scored ‘poor’ for their knowledge about carbon monoxide alarms and gas safety in general across the properties they showed tenants. Across the whole of Britain, just three agents were rated ‘good’ for their knowledge of carbon monoxide alarms.
Furthermore, none of the letting agents who showed people around the Edinburgh properties had any specific knowledge about the age of the boilers or their service history. Some agents were not even aware of the location of a flat’s smoke alarm.
Three scored poorly for their maintenance and repair questions, particularly relating to boilers. Two out of the six researchers said they wouldn’t use the letting agent again.
In addition one in five of the 30 properties visited had problems with damp. None of the agents showing the properties were able to commit to fixing the problem. Which? investigators also found certain letting agents in Edinburgh and elsewhere to be rude and unhelpful.
Alex Neill, of Which?, said: ‘It’s unacceptable that, all too often, agents can’t answer basic questions about important issues like boiler safety and carbon monoxide alarms. Tenants need to be given clear and accurate information before moving in to a new place and agents must do more to deliver an acceptable level of service.’
A Which? spokesman added: ‘Our investigation revealed there are some highly competent, capable and professional letting agents operating, who may be overshadowed by the apathy induced by the bad ones.’
A spokesperson from the Association of Residential Letting Agencies said: ‘New legislation brought in at the start of this year means that all letting agents must be registered, undergo training and be subject to fit and proper person checks. Our own organisation can discipline or strike off members who are the subject of complaints. Tenants can also take complaints to a new tribunal in Scotland called the Housing and Property Chamber, where action can be taken against landlords.’
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