Gas safety responsibilities of Landlords
In the UK around 21 million households currently use gas for heating, hot water and for cooking. Of the many responsibilities (over 150!) that landlords have to their tenants, making sure that boilers, cookers and gas heated fires are well maintained and safe at the point of service is a key duty and also a legal obligation. This is because gas appliances that are poorly maintained can lead to leaks, fires and explosions.
One dangerous result of poorly maintained and faulty appliances can be carbon monoxide poisoning. Thousands of people every year are poisoned by carbon monoxide which can kill quickly and silently.
This is why it’s important that you have any work carried out by a card carrying Gas Safety checked professional. Research by Gas Safety Week estimates that close to 8,000 illegal gas fitters currently operate in the UK carrying out as many as 250,000 jobs in homes every year, and while it may be cheaper, it’s certainly not worth the risk. If one of your tenants falls victim to carbon monoxide poisoning and it can be proven that you failed to have gas safety checks carried out, or that work was not completed properly, then you may be liable to prosecution.
Your tenant(s) can request a copy of the gas safety record at any time and if you fail to provide they may notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that you have failed to do so. When a new tenant moves in to your property you must provide them with a copy straight away.
In 2014, the HSE prosecuted two landlords after a couple and their baby were taken to hospital suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. The source of the poisoning was found to be a gas water heater without a flue, as well as three other potential sources around the home. When asked by the HSE to provide a Gas Safety inspection certificate the landlords were unable to. The two landlords were found guilty by the court, fined and ordered to carry out community work.
As well as Gas Safety checks there are other good practices that landlords should follow. While under law it is essential for landlords to have smoke alarms installed on every level, carbon monoxide alarms are not compulsory unless the room contains a solid fuel burning appliance such as a wood burner. However, they are relatively low cost and to keep your tenants safe you may want to have one installed.
You can find a properly accredited engineer in your local area by visiting GasSafeRegister.co.uk or by calling 0800 450 5500.
For more tips and advice for landlords, please click here, or alternatively call us on 01904 650650 to find out how we can help you effectively market your property.