Students risk lives in 'death-trap digs'
One in four students wouldn't report a gas leak

As students start searching for a home for the next academic year, new research just released reveals a shocking lack of awareness of safety in their rented accommodation that could be putting their lives at risk.

Nearly a quarter of students questioned in the British Gas survey say they wouldn't bother to report a smell of gas or a dodgy gas fire to their landlord. More than four in 10 students have never seen a Landlord's Gas Safety Record which shows gas appliances have been checked for safety in the past 12 months — something which is required by law in any rented home.

Two out of five students claim they would ignore feeling sick and getting headaches in spite of these being the tell-tale signs of CO poisoning. This apathy comes despite the deaths of two children in a Corfu hotel from deadly carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning — one in five of the students interviewed had never even heard of a CO detector.

The survey revealed that five times as many students would prefer to be within walking distance of their campus (31%) than have a good landlord (5%).

The survey findings have prompted British Gas to offer cash-strapped students high-tech CO detectors with a 15% discount at £19.50.

The firm has also repeated its call for CO detectors to be made mandatory in all rented homes in the UK.

Chris Bielby, the company's Head of Safety, said: "It's frightening to think that young people are still willing to trade safety for a night out or a quick walk to lectures in the morning. This will make worrying reading for any parent with a child at college or university."

* Ask for your landlord's Gas Safety Record. They have to show you this by law. If they don't offer them, Nag Them. It could save your life
* Fit a CO detector with an audible alarm to British Standard in your home as an added line of defence. It could be the best twenty quid you spend
* Don't ignore any potential problems with the gas appliances or the electrics in your home — landlords are getting your money, they should make sure you're safe in return

* Stains, soot or discolouring around a gas fire, water heater or boiler
* An appliance that burns with a yellow or orange flame instead of a blue one
* Increased condensation inside windows

If these signs are present then stop using the appliance, open doors and windows to ventilate the room and don't use the appliance again until it has been checked by a Corgi-registered engineer.

Symptoms of CO poisoning — often mistaken for flu — include:
* Recurring headaches
* Nausea, sickness, chest and/or stomach pains
* General tiredness and fatigue.

Visit: British Gas