Thousands of renters are living in homes with health and safety hazards, according to a new survey.

The most common danger is a missing or broken smoke detector – which was flagged in 40% of home compliance inspections.

The other main issues in rented homes are trip hazards on stairs (26%) and electrical faults (11%), says property inspection firm VeriSmart.

The company carried out 60,000 private rented home inspections last year, which suggests 24,000 of the inspected properties lacked fire protection measures required by law.

Other regular faults included no carbon monoxide detector (7%); damp and mould (4%); and uncovered ponds or swimming pools (2%).

The most serious incidents covered the threat of collapse in a home (2%); dangers from fire (1%), poor hygiene or excessive cold (both 0.6%).

“While many landlords are providing up to scratch accommodation, it’s really quite worrying that we’re seeing so many fail to address some of the most serious hazards in the home,” said VeriSmart CEO and founder Jonathan Senior.

“The lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and the danger of falling on stairs ranking as high as they do is particularly worrying. These are classed as category one hazards and so there is no excuse to have them present in a rental property.”

He that the Fitness for Human Habitation Act, which started from March 20, landlords face tenants suing them for breach of contract if they fail to keep a home in a good state of repair.

“It is more vital than ever that landlords ensure their properties meet the required minimum health and safety standards,” he said.

Senior also added that a rising number of claims management companies were turning attention to helping tenants make claims under the act, with some cold-calling to offer no-win, no-fee advice.