Gas safety advice for landlords and tenants
About 14 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed or maintained, according to the Health and Safety Executive, while many others also suffer ill health.
Hammersmith estate agent Lawsons & Daughters advises the landlords it deals with that they have a legal obligation to ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants in a rental property are safe. But tenants also have a responsibility to themselves to ensure that the gas appliances in their rental home will not endanger their lives.
Here, we examine how the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 can work for both landlords and tenants.
When it comes to gas safety, your responsibilities cover the following areas.
- Maintenance: You must ensure you keep up to date with all maintenance issues for pipes, flues and appliances. Always employ a Gas Safety-registered engineer to complete this work. Gas appliances should be serviced based on their individual guidelines. If these don’t exist, you should commit to annual checks.
- Gas Safety Checks: You’re legally obliged to carry out a gas safety check on all appliances and flues every 12 months. But please note that if the tenant owns the appliance, you are only responsible for checking the pipework and not the appliance itself.
- Record keeping: Once the gas safety checks have been completed, you must provide a certificate to your tenants within 28 days. If you have a new tenant moving in, you must provide this before or on the day of the move.
The above should always occur, even if the property is only being rented out for a short-term contract. If the tenant won’t allow access, make sure to put it in writing and make all necessary steps to attempt access. More information can be found on the HSE website.
Failure to carry out gas safety checks could land you in hot water. Lettings specialist Assetgrove advises that for offences committed on and after 12 March 2015 the maximum penalty in a magistrates’ court is an unlimited fine, imprisonment for up to six months or both. If the offence goes to a crown court, the maximum penalty is an unlimited fine, up to two years in jail or both.
Even though you don’t own the property, you still have personal responsibilities to ensure the safety of yourself and the property. It’s important for you to know the responsibilities of your landlord so you can keep a check on this and ensure they’re being actioned.
If your landlord contacts you as they need to gain access for the annual gas safety check, it’s important to arrange this as soon as possible. This is for your benefit and will give you peace of mind.
Why do I need the gas checked?
If you have an appliance in the property that’s faulty, it’s not always obvious. You could be putting yourself at risk if it’s not checked by a Gas Safety-registered engineer. You’re also at risk if you have any blocked flues in the property. There must be adequate ventilation to ensure all fumes are being pushed outside.
It’s important to check there’s enough fresh air, as well as making sure appliances are burning gas correctly.
If you own the gas appliances in your property, you’re responsible for getting these checked. Your landlord may still be responsible for the pipework and flues, so it’s a good idea to organise the test alongside your landlord.
As a landlord, it’s a criminal offence not to follow the gas safety requirements. If you’re a tenant, get in touch with HSE if you’re concerned. Safety should always come first within a gas-supplied property.