It has recently been reported by the HSE that two landlord companies have been fined for gas safety breaches in the North London area. Even though, no tenants were injured, leaks were found in the gas system within residential properties. Landlords have a duty under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to ensure safe gas fittings to prevent risk of injury to tenants. It also states that gas inspections should be done every year to ensure the gas system is safe and any maintenance needed should be carried out. These regulations apply to residential properties for private use. The landlord is responsible for the maintenance and repair of gas pipe work, flues and appliances. Records of the safety checks are required. Every year, about 14 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning and other gas related injuries that could be prevented.
Basically, the main duties of the landlord are to ensure that the gas fittings and flues are maintained in a safe condition. These include appliances not installed in tenants’ accommodation but where they service them, for example, the central heating system of the whole building. All gas appliances should be checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. A record should be made of each safety check for at least two years. A copy of the latest check should be given to tenants or in some cases displayed. Appliances owned by the tenant are not covered under these safety checks; however, the onus is on the tenant to ensure they do their own gas checks. If a management agent is used by the landlord, the landlord must ensure that they complete the gas checks as required. Overall, it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that this is done. If appliances fail a safety check, remedial action must be taken immediately. It is an offence to use, or allow the use of, an unsafe appliance.
We easily take for granted cookers and fires to keep us warm with hot cooked meals. However, having commonsense in looking after these appliances can divert a disaster or injury. Gas cookers, gas fires, including boilers need to be checked annually. One should recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. These include headaches, breathlessness, and nausea and in severe cases loss of consciousness. One should check the flame on appliances, it should be crisp and blue and not a yellow slow flame. There should be no dark stains on or around the appliances. These appearances can indicate the presence of a carbon monoxide leakage, however, it is possible for there to be a gas leak and no signs at all. There should always be enough ventilation for gas appliances to burn effectively. Air vents should not be blocked that provide an air supply to the gas appliance. Gas Engineers should be checked that they are part of the Gas Safe Register and should show an up to date ID card. By law, all Gas engineers should be part of the Gas Safe Register. Before 2009, this register was known as CORGI.
If you smell gas…
- Open all doors and windows
- Shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve (it you know where it is)
- Call 0800 111 999, the Gas Emergency Services