Gas Safety

2.7 Gas Safety

It is vital that landlords clearly understand their responsibilities and
obligations in relation to gas supply and appliances and the duties and
responsibilities placed on them by the gas safety regulations.

Obligations between landlords and agents need to be specific in relation to
the gas safety regulations and landlords cannot seek to evade or exclude
themselves from those obligations. Any clause in the tenancy agreement
which attempts to evade the regulations will be invalid. A breach of the
regulations is a criminal offence, enforced by the Health & Safety Executive.

2.7.1 Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 make it mandatory
that gas appliances must be maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Landlords are required by the Regulations to ensure that all gas appliances
are adequately maintained and that an annual safety check is carried out
by a registered tradesperson.

Up until March 2009 the registration of gas installers has been handled
by CORGI (Council for Registered Gas Installers). Gas Safe Register has replaced CORGI gas registration in Great Britain from 1st April 2009 and is now the official industry stamp for gas safety. For further information visit
www.gassaferegister.co.uk.

All gas installers should carry identification cards which will state the type
of work they are authorised to carry out. Once the inspection has been
carried out, the installer will provide a gas safety record.

A gas safety record must be provided to tenants of properties which
contain gas appliances when they first move in, and annually thereafter.
Failure to do this is a criminal offence.

Any necessary repair or remedial work identified should be carried out
straight away by the landlord who cannot place responsibility for this onto
the tenant. If the need for any work is caused by the tenant’s behaviour,
then the tenant can be charged for the cost of the repair work afterwards.

For further information about responsibilities and obligations, contact the
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for advice. Additional information and
details of the local HSE office can be obtained from the HSE website at
www.hse.gov.uk

It is very important that the gas regulations are complied with and all
necessary repairs carried out as soon as possible. Defective gas appliances
are very dangerous and some tenants have died as a result. Culpable
landlords could be subject to legal action.

A Landlord Must:

• have gas appliances provided by them checked for safety by a
registered gas installer within 12 months of their installation
and then ensure further checks at least once every twelve
months after that;

• gas pipe work should be inspected to ensure it is not leaking.
The registered gas installer must take action to leave the
appliance safe, if it fails a safety check. This could be remedial
action, disconnection and/or a warning notice attached;

• give a copy of the gas safety record to any new tenant when
they move in or to an existing tenant(s) within 28 days of the
check;

• keep a record of the gas safety record made for each appliance
for two years;

• ensure that gas appliances, fittings, and flues are maintained in
a safe condition.

2.7.2 Exceptions to the Regulations

• the Regulations do not apply to gas appliances that are owned
by the tenant;

• the Regulations do not apply to leases for terms of more than
seven years unless the landlord has a break clause which
entitles the landlord to end the lease during the first seven
years;

• the Regulations allow a defence for some specified regulations
where a person can show that they took all reasonable steps to                                     prevent the contravention of the Regulations;

• portable or mobile gas appliances supplied from a
cylinder must be included in maintenance and the annual
check; however they are excluded from other parts of the
Regulations.

2.7.3 Room-Sealed Appliances

The Regulations require that:

• a gas appliance installed in a bathroom or a shower room
must be a room-sealed appliance (i.e. sealed from the room in
which it is located and obtaining the air for combustion from
the open air outside the building, discharging the products of
combustion direct into the open air);

• a gas fire, other gas space-heater or a gas water-heater of 14
kilowatt heat output or less in a room used or intended to be
used as sleeping accommodation must either:
- be a room-sealed appliance; or
- incorporate a safety control designed to shut down the
appliance before there is a build-up of a dangerous quantity of
the products of combustion in the room concerned.

2.7.4 Indications that an Appliance is Faulty or Dangerous

Danger signs to look for are:

• stains, soot or discolouring around a gas appliance indicates
that the flue or chimney is blocked, in which case carbon
monoxide can build up in the room;

• a yellow or orange flame on a gas fire or water heater.

The most effective indication of a combustion problem would be the
activation of a properly installed carbon monoxide detector.

2.7.5 Tenants’ Duties

Tenants also have responsibilities imposed upon them by the Gas Safety
(Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

They must report any defect that they become aware of and must not use
an appliance that is not safe. Tenants should be informed of this in writing
and a clause explaining their duties should be included in their tenancy
agreement: this would include reporting any defect and not using an
appliance that is not safe.