HARD-UP Huddersfield students are forking out high rents for their new homes - yet still getting potential death trap accommodation.
That was the warning today from British Gas officials, anxious to hammer home the safety message.
Research from British Gas and the National Union of Students has shown that, despite landlords demanding rents on a par with those paid by better-off tenants, many students get a raw deal in houses where basic gas safety and other life-saving measures are overlooked.
With students arriving at Huddersfield University this week and many others moving all over the country, safety experts are warning partygoers in privately-rented accommodation to make sure their hangover is from the night before and not the first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
British Gas is urging all students and their families to follow a simple five-point checklist as soon as they move in.
The latest figures show that student rents have now risen to an average of £206 per month for rooms in shared houses - but higher rents have not led to higher standards of safety or quality.
Chris Bielby, British Gas's head of quality and standards, said: "Despite in many cases paying top-level prices, too many students are still getting bottom-end houses for their money.
"The law on safety checks is there to help save lives. It's unacceptable that they still aren't getting the standard of homes everyone else takes for granted."
Accommodation offices at most universities, including Huddersfield, already carry out checks on the properties they include on their housing lists. But British Gas and the NUS are urging all students to carry out simple checks of their own just to be sure.
1. Check with your landlord that the gas appliances in the property were professionally installed by a CORGI registered installer.
2. Check the property has functional smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
3. Check with your landlord that the furniture is fire resistant.
4. Check that all electrical appliances have been properly wired and check electrical sockets and switches for signs of burning or scorching.
5. Check that the property seems secure - do the ground floor windows have safety catches? Do the external doors seem solid, for instance?