Gas, Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Safety
All gas installers/engineers must be registered on the Gas Safe Register 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 tell Building Control within the proper Local Authority (LA) under Building Regulations within 30 working days. Once in receipt of this information, 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.
Gas Safety Reports
New tenants should receive a copy of the safety report before they move in and existing tenants should get a copy of a new report 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 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 get access to it.
If letting agents are used they are also liable under the regulations to make sure 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.
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).
CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
Carbon monoxide does not occur naturally in the atmosphere and is the result of oxygen-starved combustion in improperly ventilated fuel-burning appliances such as gas water heaters, oil and gas furnaces, gas ovens, gas or kerosene space heaters, fire places and wood stoves. CO is generated by any gasoline engine that does not use a catalytic converter.
Note: In the view of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a decorative fireplace (non functioning) would not constitute a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
On 1st Oct 2015 the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force. From that date, private rented sector landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their properties on which there is a room. This is regardless of whether it is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and this includes a bathroom or toilet. Guidance issued by Government is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and that they should usually be fitted to the ceiling in a circulation space – i.e. on a landing or in a hallway.
Smoke alarms must be checked regularly, both by landlords ensuring that the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy (with potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they don’t comply) and tenants during the tenancy.
Warning signs that gas appliances are not working correctly are lazy yellow flames, black marks or stains around the appliance as well as too much condensation in the room.
The 6 main signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:
- Loss of consciousness.