A Guide to Gas Safety for Landlords
(In Accordance with The Gas Safety [Installation and Use] Regulations 1998)
Each year around 30 people die and over 200 suffer from ill health as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The most typical causes are gas appliances and flues which have not been properly installed or correctly maintained.
Any place of work or residence that has a gas installation and/or gas appliances installed must be maintained in such a way so as to prevent risk of injury to any person. The definition of what is an appropriate maintenance programme will be determined by the installation's age, condition and usage. If an inspector is of the opinion that the installation is not being properly maintained and may give rise to danger, enforcement action may be taken.
Even in this day and age of strictly enforced health and safety policy, not all organisations fully understand the law or their duty of care. Considering the often-daunting nature of the topic, this is understandable. However, we are also in an information age, where facts are readily available to us should we choose to find them and, ultimately, organisations will be held accountable should they fail to meet their responsibilities.
This guide is designed to give an overview of how Maintenance by Global can facilitate the obligation placed upon certain commercial landlords to ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues, provided for tenants’ use, are safe and operating within the law. Our aim is to make this process less of a burden and more like a framework on which to build a widely-accepted best practice.
Who Is a Landlord?
Before we look at the obligations facing organisations, we need to define exactly what a landlord is:
A ‘landlord’ is defined in regulation 36(1) of The Gas Safety [Installation and Use] Regulations 1998. The definition encompasses tenanted property of ocal authorities, housing associations, landlords in the private sector, housing co-operatives and hostel. Also, governed by the regulations are rooms which are let to tenants in both bedsit accommodation and private houses, as well as bed and breakfast accommodation. Rented holiday accommodation is also governed, including caravans, cottages, flats, chalets and narrow boats on inland waterways.
Legal obligations as a landlord:
Regulations are now in place to ensure the safe installation and maintenance of all gas appliances, flues, meters and pipe work into a property. These regulations apply regardless of the owner’s intention to let the property to domestic or commercial tenants and applies pre-let as well as for the duration of occupancy. A landlord’s main duties, as defined by the HSE, are outlined below.
- Ensure gas fittings and flues are maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available, it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe-registered installer
- Ensure an annual safety check is carried out on each gas appliance/flue. Before any new lease starts, you must make sure that these checks have been carried out within one year before the start of the lease date, unless the appliances in the property have been installed for less than 12 months, in which case they should be checked within 12 months of their installation date
- Have all installation, maintenance and safety checks carried out by a Gas-Safe-registered gas installer
- Keep a record of each safety check for at least two years
- Issue a copy of the latest safety check record to existing tenants within 28 days of the check being completed, or to any new tenant before they move in (in certain cases there is an option to display the record)
Organisations and individual landlords should not assume that an annual service inspection meets the safety check requirement, or that a safety check will, on its own, be sufficient to provide effective maintenance.
Penalties for Non-Compliance:
- Landlords can be convicted, as can managing agents if they are in breach of their management agreements to maintain gas appliances
- Breach of the regulations is a criminal offence
- The HSE are empowered to bring proceedings
- Non-compliance, can bring fines of up to £20,000
- Non-compliance could imply responsibility for any gas-related incident through negligence
- In extremely severe cases, liability for an incident could bring charges for manslaughter. This could lead to substantial fines or even imprisonment
- Insurance cover may well be invalidated by failure to comply with the Regulations
The Service offered by Maintenance by Global
As well as being Gas Safe registered and qualified to work on industrial and commercial pipe work and appliances, our gas engineers have gained extensive experience in their field and are all dedicated to providing the highest standards of work. The procedures they follow during installations, inspections, repairs and general maintenance are carried out in accordance with the strict guidelines set by the Institute of Gas Engineers.
For further advice, to arrange an estimate of works or just for general information on the many other services offered by Maintenance by Global, please see our contact page for ways to get in touch.