For gas safety the legislation is the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 which places a statutory duty on all landlords to ensure that all gas appliances, pipework and flues are maintained in a safe condition, particularly in order to prevent the escape of carbon monoxide gas.
Landlords will be in breach of Regulation 36 of this legislation if their annual gas appliance checks are carried out by someone who is not registered on the GasSafe Register. Unregistered gas fitters are working not only illegally but possibly unsafely. To check that an engineer is registered text gas and the engineers 7-digit number to 85080.
The installation of any heat producing gas appliances (boilers, water heaters, warm air heaters, gas fires and flued cookers) in England and Wales requires the installer to notify Building Control within the appropriate Local Authority (LA) under Building Regulations within 30 working days. The installer must be registered on the Gas Safe Register and on notification to Building Control will then send the customer a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate or a Declaration of Safety Certificate. Either is a self declaration of compliance which belongs to the property and may be needed when the property is sold or mortgaged.
New tenants should receive a copy of the safety report before they move in and existing tenants should get a copy within 28 days of the annual check being done. If tenants don’t have a current gas safety record they can report it to the Health & Safety Executive via form LGSR1.
There must be a valid safety record held at all times, (with no gaps between the expiry of the existing certificate and the obtaining of a new one) with the landlord being required to keep a copy of each Gas Safety Record for at least 2 years.
This record can be held electronically as long as it is a) capable of being reproduced in hard copy format when required (e.g. for the tenant/HSE/housing department) and secure from loss and interference and b) uniquely identifies the gas operative who carried out the safety check such as an electronic signature, a scanned signature, a payroll number unique to the operative, the name of the operative etc.
A landlord, or gas engineer with the landlord’s agreement, may send or give a copy of the electronic record directly to tenants, provided they are happy with this arrangement and have the ability to access it.
If letting agents are used they are also liable under the regulations to ensure that the Gas Safety Record is in place and all pipework, appliances, flues, gas central heating boilers, gas cookers and any gas fires are maintained in a safe condition.
Contents of a Gas Safety Check
As a minimum, the record of a gas safety check must contain:
- A description of and the location of each appliance or flue checked;
- The name, registration number and signature of the individual carrying out the check;
- The date on which the appliance or flue was checked;
- The address of the property at which the appliance or flue is installed;
- Any defect identified and any remedial action taken;
- A statement confirming that the safety check completed complies with the requirements of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
A sample of a gas safe record can be seen here.
GAS APPLIANCES BROUGHT IN BY TENANTS
Any gas appliance which is brought in by the tenant means that they are responsible for arranging its maintenance by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The landlord does however still have responsibilities for parts of the installation and pipework.
It is important that tenants tell the landlord well in advance if they are considering arranging for gas appliances to be installed/ replaced. Tenants also need to check at the start of the tenancy whether there are any flues or chimneys that are unsuitable for the installation of a gas appliance.
Landlords are also obliged to show tenants how they can turn off the gas supply in the event of a gas leak regardless of who supplies the appliances but if tenants smell gas they should immediately do the following:
- Call the National Grid’s Gas Emergency Freephone number: 0800 111 999;
- Open all the doors and windows;
- Shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve (if it is known where it is).