MANY university students could be at risk from unsafe gas appliances in private accommodation, says a survey today.
A poll among students found 53% with a private landlord had never been shown an up-to-date safety certificate for items such as gas fires or cookers in their property.
Landlords must, by law, have gas appliances inspected every year by a Corgi-registered engineer.
Home Office statistics show that 16 young people died and 300 were injured in the past five years as a result of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
The National Union of Students' poll follows a big safety campaign launched in Huddersfield after the tragic death of 10-year-old Dominic Rodgers.
He was killed when fumes seeped into his bedroom in Fartown as he slept.
Now, his mother, Stacey, and Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman are working to make sure people know the dangers.
Kirklees Council has started safety checks on thousands of homes, as the fumes which killed Dominic built up in a passageway - in use in many Huddersfield homes.
British Gas and the National Union of Students said students were among those people most in danger.
Verity Coyle, NUS vice- president in charge of welfare, said: "Deaths and injuries caused by CO poisoning are tragic because they can be avoided very easily.
"Landlords have got away with too much for too long. Breaking the law should not be an option for them.
"The NUS is calling for proper licensing for all student accommodation, to end the Dickensian conditions students live in and to stop the exploitation by landlords who make a great deal of money out of them."
Chris Bielby, head of quality and standards at British Gas, said: "The rise in numbers of amateur landlords means people are gambling with students' lives.
"A shabby carpet is one thing, but the time has come to turn up the heat on these people who are knowingly putting students at risk," added Mr Bielby.
The survey of 1,200 university students across the UK found many living in dire housing conditions.
Some 23% said the property they lived in while at university had vermin such as mice or rats.
Three-quarters of the students complained that their homes had damp and 1% said there was no form of heating.