The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 make it mandatory for landlords to ensure that gas appliances, pipework and ﬂues provided for tenants are in a safe condition at all times. The rules apply throughout the UK and cover liquid petroleum gas (LPG) systems as well as natural gas. A landlord or agent may not contract out of their obligations under the Regulations and a breach is a criminal offence. Compliance may also need to be evidenced before a court will grant possession of the property.
There are three clear and separate duties:
The landlord must ensure that an annual gas safety check, and maintenance (often best achieved by servicing in line with manufacturers recommendations) is carried out only by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Records include a copy of the annual safety check report, together with receipts and invoices for maintenance and any other gas work. Records must be kept for a minimum of two years.
A copy of the safety check report must be given to existing tenants within 28 days of the check being completed and to new tenants before they move in.
Between tenancies landlords should visually check the property to see if the departing tenant has either removed appliances unsafely, or alternatively left behind their own appliance, which should either be removed or checked for safety by a Gas Safe registered engineer. If it is suspected that any appliance could have been tampered with, it is recommended to arrange for another gas safety check to be completed before giving access to new tenants. It is also good practice to arrange for the pipework to be inspected and tested for soundness.
Tenants also have responsibilities imposed upon them by the regulations and landlords should inform them of this, asking them to report any defect and not to use an appliance that is known or thought to be unsafe. It is also important that tenants are made aware of the location of the emergency gas control valve and how it is operated.
The duties mentioned are aimed at ensuring appliances do not create carbon monoxide, but even so, be mindful of indications that an appliance is faulty such as stains, soot or discolouring around a gas ﬁre indicating that the ﬂue or chimney is blocked, in which case carbon monoxide can build up in the room. A yellow or orange ﬂame is another warning sign; however a properly installed, audible CO detector is the only effective way to give tenants advance warning of CO in the property.
The NLA strongly recommends the fitting of audible carbon monoxide alarms in all properties with gas, oil or solid fuel appliances, however;
In England, it has been a requirement since 1st October 2015 for a carbon monoxide alarm to be fitted in every room where there is a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. wood burning stove/heater). The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 require these to be fitted regardless of when the tenancy commenced. They must be in a working condition at the start of all new tenancies.
In Scotland, it has been a requirement since October 2013 for CO alarms to be fitted when new or replacement boilers or other fossil fuel heating appliances are installed in residential properties. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 introduced a requirement for landlords of property in Scotland to fit CO alarms with an integrated long life battery in all rooms that contain fixed combustion devices.
In Northern Ireland, CO alarms need to be installed alongside new or replacement combustion appliances in all homes.
To view the NLA’s Gas Safety & Carbon Monoxide video click here.
For a free copy of the NLA Fire Safety Logbook (now includes CO alarm information) click here.