Know your gas safety responsibilities and protect your tenants
As a landlord you should be aware that you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. Your legal duties apply to a wide range of accommodation occupied under a lease or licence, including (but not limited to):
Residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, housing associations, private sector landlords, co-operatives, hostels.
Rooms, let in bed-sit accommodation, private households, bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels.
Rented holiday accommodation such as chalets, cottages, flats, caravans and narrow boats on inland waterways.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline the duties of landlords to ensure gas appliances, fittings and chimneys/flues provided for tenants are safe.
If you let a property equipped with gas appliances, you have three main responsibilities under UK law:
Maintenance: gas pipework, appliances and chimney/flues need to be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the frequency given in the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available, annual servicing is recommended unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Any gas appliances owned by tenants are not the landlord’s responsibility, however the connecting pipework and flue (if not solely connected to the tenant’s appliance) remains the responsibility of the landlord to maintain.
Gas safety checks: gas appliances and flues must be safety checked annually by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. New regulations introduced in April 2018 allow a landlord to arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out any time from 10-12 calendar months after the previous check whilst still preserving the original check expiry date. Where a gas safety check is carried out less than 10 months or more than 12 months after the previous gas safety check this will have the effect of ‘resetting the clock’ and the new deadline date will now be 12 months from the date of this latest gas safety check.
Landlords are not responsible for safety checks on gas appliances owned by the tenant or any flues that solely connects to tenants own gas appliances.
Record: a record of the annual gas safety check should be provided to your existing tenants within 28 days of completion, or to new tenants upon the start of their tenancy. If the rental period is less than 28 days at a time you may display a copy of the record in a prominent position within the dwelling. You’ll need to keep copies of the record for at least 2 years. If you have benefited from the new regulations allowing flexibility in timing of gas safety checks, records must be kept until two further gas safety checks have been carried out.
Additional info: It’s a good idea to ensure that your tenants know where/how to turn the gas off and what to do in the event of a gas emergency. Last, but certainly not least, make sure anyone carrying out gas work on your property is Gas Safe registered and qualified to work on the type of gas and appliances provided – this is not only the law, but the most important step to ensuring the safety of your tenants.
Some landlord/tenant relationships can become problematic. The tenancy agreement should allow access for any maintenance or safety check work that needs to be carried out. However, if your tenant refuses to give you access to the property you must show that you've taken all 'reasonable steps' to comply with the law - such as repeating attempts to carry out the safety check and writing to the tenant explaining that a safety check is a legal requirement that is in place for their own safety. Be sure to keep a record of any action taken as you may need this at a later date. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations do not give powers to ‘force disconnection’ of the gas supply in these circumstances and you may need to seek legal advice.
Short term lets
If you let a property for a short period of time (e.g. a holiday home for a week) you still have gas safety duties as a landlord.
How you can stay gas safe in your rented accommodation
Faulty gas appliances and gas pipework, poor gas fittings and blocked chimneys/flues can be life-threatening – so it’s important for your landlord to arrange annual gas safety checks to ensure appliances are safe and fit for use. The checks can include:
Ensuring that products of combustion (fumes) are being safely removed outside via the flue or chimney;
Ensuring an appliance is burning the gas properly, and that there is an adequate supply of fresh air in order for it to do so;
Ensuring all safety devices are working properly and shutting an appliance off should a fault occur.
It’s in your best interests to let a Gas Safe registered engineer in if they visit your property to carry out a check – but don’t forget to ask to see their Gas Safe ID card first! It may also be a good idea to check with your landlord if you aren’t expecting an engineer to call.
Gas Safety Records
When a registered engineer does a gas safety check in your home, they will record all of the checks they carry out on a form. This is the Gas Safety Record, and it should list all of the appliances and fittings they’ve checked.
If you’re renting a property from a private landlord, the council, a housing association or any other landlord, they should provide you with a copy of the record within 28 days of the check being completed. They also need to give a copy of the latest record to new tenants upon the start of their tenancy.
If you’re not in possession of a valid record for your current property, you can ask your landlord to provide this. If they fail to do so, you can report them to the HSE. Failure to follow gas safety requirements is a criminal offence and the HSE has the power to issue a formal caution and may prosecute your landlord.
Student moving into a rented property?
Students are like any other tenants in that your landlord needs to ensure that any gas appliances in the property are safe for you to use. As a student, gas safety is unlikely to be top of your priorities list, but knowing your rights – and the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – might just save your life.
The six symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning could be mistaken for a hangover. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to invest in an audible carbon monoxide alarm – you can buy a battery operated one at any DIY store, usually for the price of a good night at the Students’ Union (£15-£20). Once it’s yours, you can take it with you wherever you go next. Make sure the alarm is marked to comply with the European safety standard BS EN 50291.
If you own your own appliance in a tenanted property or have other specific circumstances, you can find out more about a landlord's duties.
The Gas Safe Register also provide leaflets for tenants, students and the public which give general gas safety information – you can order them online.
If you have a gas emergency, find out what course of action to take.
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FOR THE SAFETY OF YOUR TENANTS AND FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY GET YOUR APPLIANCES CHECKED
What is CO poisoning?
Unsafe gas appliances can produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO). It can cause death as well as serious long term health problems such as brain damage.
CO is produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This happens when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.
Oil and solid fuels such as coal, wood, petrol and oil can also produce carbon monoxide.
CO poisoning occurs when you breathe in the gas and it replaces oxygen in your bloodstream. Without oxygen, your body tissue and cells die. Even small amounts of the gas can cause CO poisoning, and long term effects can include paralysis and brain damage.
Remember the six main symptoms to look out for:
loss of consciousness
Being aware of the symptoms could save your life
CO symptoms are similar to those of flu, food poisoning, viral infections and fatigue. That’s why it’s quite common for people to mistake this very dangerous poisoning for something else.
Other signs that could point to CO poisoning:
Your symptoms only occur when you are at home and seem to disappear when you leave home.
Others in your household (including pets) are experiencing similar symptoms and they appear at a similar time.
What to do if you suspect CO poisoning
Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house.
See your doctor immediately or go to hospital - let them know that you suspect CO poisoning. They can do a blood or breath test to check.
If you think there is an immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999.
Ask a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem.
The warning signs of a CO leak
Any of the following could be a sign of CO in your home:
Flames of a lazy yellow or orange colour on your gas hob, rather than being a crisp blue;
Dark staining on/around appliances;
Pilot lights that frequently blow out;
Increased condensation inside windows.
Faulty appliances in your home can lead to CO poisoning. Get your gas appliances checked regularly to avoid this.
What can you do about it?
Our advice is clear: the first and best thing you can do to minimise the risk that your gas appliances produce CO is to ensure that they are safety checked annually by a suitably competent and qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.
If you already have a service plan then an annual check may be included as part of that, check the details.
An audible CO alarm will activate in the presence of CO. It’s a good second line of defence, but can only tell you when something has already gone wrong.
Make sure any alarm you buy is marked to EN 50291 and has the British Standards Kitemark.
CO Alarm - A good second line of defence
Modern CO alarms are similar in design to smoke alarms (which do not detect CO) and can be purchased from around £15 at many major retail outlets including DIY stores and supermarkets. We do not recommend the use of 'black spot detector' warning strips - they are too easy to miss and won't alert you if you have a CO leak when you're asleep.
It’s advisable to fit an alarm in every room with a gas appliance, and when installing and siting the alarm make sure you refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, audible CO alarms have a battery life of up to 5 years. If you’re unsure which alarm to get, you can ask a Gas Safe registered engineer for advice.
You are welcome to contact us on 07561 411911
Don’t leave it to chance – unchecked appliances could pose a risk to you and your family.
All gas appliances in your property need to be safety checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer annually and serviced according to manufacturer’s instructions. Any appliance left unchecked could leave you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s an extremely good idea to have your gas pipework inspected at the same time as having a gas safety check, every year – and it’s law if you’re a landlord.
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