STUDENTS returning to university are being urged to check their accommodation is safe.

The trade body for the oil heating industry, OFTEC, says it is easy for students to feel pressured into taking the first property they find.

OFTEC added there is a worry that students will resort to signing contracts for cheaper housing without properly inspecting the house or flat, in an effort to save money.

The trade body's Malcolm Farrow said: "It’s that exciting time of year again for students as they prepare to return to university and move into rented accommodation with their friends.

"However, while the vast majority of landlords are fully responsible, unfortunately there are some unscrupulous owners who will try to dupe students into living in potentially unsafe accommodation full of problems."

OFTEC has drawn up a safety checklist of what to look out for, and the legal requirements landlords must follow:

l Every floor of the property must have a working smoke alarm. Carbon monoxide alarms are mandatory in rooms which use solid fuel, such as a fireplace.

l There must be clear access to a fire escape route.

l Beds and sofas must have fire safety labels attached.

l Electrical appliances from kettles to light fittings should work correctly; it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure they are in good condition.

l For mains gas heating, the boiler must have been serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer. In an oil-heated home, an OFTEC registered technician should service the system. When viewing the property, ask to test the heating and check the radiators warm up.