Gas Safety for Landlords: What You Need to Know
It is extremely important that landlords follow the legal gas safety requirements that have been set out under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Failure to complete the legal duties could result in fines, criminal charges and even imprisonment.
Every landlord is responsible for completing the following measures:
What are the key gas safety responsibilities for a landlord?
In regards to gas safety, the law states that landlords must:
- Maintain all gas appliances, flues and fittings to ensure that they remain in a safe condition.
- Ensure that any new gas appliances, flues or pipework are installed by a qualified, Gas Safe registered engineer.
- Arrange for all gas appliances, flues and fittings to be serviced or checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer, in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Arrange for a Gas Safe engineer to check any gas appliances and installations before the start of a new tenancy, even if the safety certificate for that property is still valid.
- Make sure that any gas appliances that have been disconnected by a Gas Safe engineer are declared ‘unsafe’ and not used by tenants.
- Keep a record of the gas safety certificate for at least two years after the date of the safety check.
- Supply tenants of the rental property with a copy of the landlord gas safety certificate within 28 days of the safety check.
- Supply any new tenants with a copy of the current safety certificate before they move in to the property.
Regulations for gas appliances in bedrooms and bathrooms: On 1st November 1996, regulations were introduced regarding gas appliances located in bedrooms and bathrooms. Any gas appliance in these areas that is above 14 kilowatts must be ‘room-sealed’, which means that the flue must be sealed from the room and any air required by the device for combustion purposes, must come from outside.
Regulations for water heaters: Regulations regarding the use of instantaneous water heaters that are not ‘room-sealed’ in rental properties were introduced on 1st October 1998. The regulations state that such devices must be fitted with an automatic gas cut off valve, to ensure that the heater turns off if toxic fumes build up.
What additional safety measures should you take?
As well as making sure that all gas appliances are serviced regularly and that an annual gas safety check has been carried out, there are several other steps that you should take to protect your tenants and properties. These include:
- Dealing with any issues or concerns that tenants raise about gas appliances, quickly and efficiently.
- Providing tenants with copies of the manuals for all of the gas appliances in the property.
- Making sure that the tenants know how to shut off the mains gas for the property.
- Refraining from using second hand gas appliances in a property.
- Ensuring that all water heaters have a fail-safe thermostat.
- Taking steps to protect any exposed gas pipes or pipes in areas that are susceptible to damage.
- Leaving clear instructions for the tenants, on what they should so and who to contact in the event of a gas leak or suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If the property is being managed by a third party agent or agency – making sure that the responsibility for managing gas safety checks and certificate updates is clearly defined in writing.
Warning signs: What to look out for when visiting a property
Landlords and tenants alike should be vigilant when inspecting a rental property. There are several warning signs that can alert you to the presence of lethal carbon monoxide:
- Smoky, yellow flames in the boiler, instead of blue flames.
- Pilot lights that blow out frequently.
- Brown or yellow stains and marks around the appliance.
- High levels of condensation in the room where the appliance is situated.
The easiest way to make sure that these legal steps are completed and ensure the safety of your property and tenants, is to book an annual gas safety check or Landlord Gas Safety Certificate with a local Gas Safe registered engineer.
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