It’s Gas Safety Week!
Now in its thirteenth year, Gas Safety Week is a cross-industry event running from 11th to 17th September, aiming to keep the nation gas safe and raise awareness of the importance of gas safety.
Property professionals such as landlords and lettings agents need to be aware of the legalities when renting out properties in the private rented sector properties, so we’re on hand to support professionals.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what this yearly event means for professionals in the sector, exploring its importance and outlining landlords’ legal obligations. You’ll also find the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding gas safety.
What is Gas Safety Week 2023?
This year’s Gas Safety Week takes place between 11-17th September 2023. It strives to educate everyone across the country on gas safety alongside the necessity of properly maintaining their gas-powered appliances, to avoid hazards, accidents and worse from happening.
Organised by the Gas Safety Register, a resource that shows the UK’s official list of gas engineers permitted to maintain gas-powered household items, this year the emphasis is firmly placed on industry-wide collaboration to keep people safe in their homes.
Gas Safety Register describes this annual event as a vital campaign to ensure the nation is aware of the importance of gas safety. This year, they’re urging homeowners and tenants to be vigilant for certain warning signs, such as dark, sooty stains or “lazy” yellow flames. All are potential signs of a carbon monoxide leak, alongside window condensation and a boiler light that goes out.
In an article by the Express, some startling statistics from British Gas research were brought to light. One in four homeowners don’t feel confident spotting signs of a dangerous gas leak, for example. Moreover, a study of 2,000 adults found just 18% would attribute discolouring in their walls to a leak.
But the real takeaway that landlords and other property professionals should take on board is the fact that 22% are putting themselves at risk due to not having a carbon monoxide alarm installed.
Why is Gas Safety so Important?
There are a number of reasons why maintaining gas safety is extremely important. We’ll explore a handful of those below.
1. Carbon monoxide symptoms
Carbon monoxide leaks can cause a number of debilitating symptoms that include nausea, feeling dizzy, struggling to breathe, headaches and collapsing. People can also be misdiagnosed with depression due to a gas leak. It’s difficult to detect this poisonous gas due to the fact it is odourless and has no particular taste.
2. Deaths in England and Wales
Whilst experiencing any of these symptoms can limit the health of those living or visiting the property, the unfortunate truth is that the health implications of carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states that in England and Wales, approximately 40 deaths are reported each year due to carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, there are around 4,000 attendances at accident and emergency departments in England for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning every year.
These could all be potentially averted with yearly gas safety checks, working carbon monoxide alarms and a greater public awareness of the symptoms. All are issues which this Gas Safety Week seeks to highlight.
3. Damage to property
Faulty gas appliances and inadequate ventilation are other factors that can cause damage to the landlord’s property, as well as the tenant’s belongings. A lifetime’s collection of items or a home with sentimental value to the landlord may be lost due to a carbon monoxide explosion or fire.
This can be devastating for both parties, so Gas Safety Week serves as a reminder for tenants, landlords and homeowners that their gas appliances require adequate ventilation to avoid such outcomes. But what does this mean for residential properties in the UK including the landlords and professionals operating in the sector?
What are landlords’ gas safety obligations?
Given the disastrous costs of poorly maintained gas appliances and systems, the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (GSIUR) plays an all-important role in ensuring safety within residential properties.
In a previous Inventory Base blog, Landlords – What are your gas safety responsibilities?, we discussed how all PRS landlords need to adhere to these regulations with a legal duty to ensure the safety of the gas fittings and appliances in rented properties.
Landlords have a duty to maintain the safety of gas appliances, pipework leading to gas appliances and flues from gas appliances. This duty involves an annual inspection of all gas appliances and systems, which should always be completed by a qualified gas-safe-registered engineer, after which the homeowner will receive a gas safety certificate.
While the regulations were amended in 2018 to give more flexibility to landlords when it comes to the renewal of gas safety records, it’s still important to have copies of the gas safety certificate.
A landlord may also request that their engineer does a tightness test on the gas system besides visually inspecting the pipes to rule out damage. Propertymark recommends this additional measure in between separate tenancies as installation pipework is not covered by an annual gas safety check.
The cost of poor gas safety
Any landlord who fails to arrange a provide a gas safety record can face serious consequences. Classed as a criminal offence, landlords can be liable for unlimited fines and/or six months in prison. Other enforcement actions they might face include things like prohibition or improvement notices or even emergency remedial action by the local authority.
To avoid potential issues, landlords can now access a helpful reminder service on the Gas Safe Register website free of charge.
Gas Safety FAQs
Can an engineer other than a Gas Safe registered engineer carry out a gas check?
The answer is a resounding no. The Health and Safety Executive states that any landlord/agent would be going against regulations if they hire someone else to conduct the check. Landlords must only use a Gas Safe registered engineer for maintenance and safety checks on gas equipment they own and provide for tenants’ use in domestic premises.
Does my tenant need a carbon monoxide alarm?
By law, rental properties in England now have to have a working carbon monoxide alarm fitted in each room that houses a combustion appliance (not including gas cookers). With safety on the line, its vital that you install sufficient carbon monoxide alarms to remain compliant and keep tenants and their visitors safe.
Is there anything else to consider?
Yes, and it’s critical. Landlords or those managing a property for them, should always double-check the reverse side of their engineer’s Gas Safe Register card to ensure they are suitably qualified for the specific gas safety checks/works being undertaken.
Streamline your Gas Safety Inspections with Inventory Base
With an ever-increasing range of templates and reports designed to keep you gas-safe, why not join the property professionals and contractors using Inventory Base to keep properties safe and compliant?
Book an expert-led demo where you can see how Inventory Base will simplify your workflow as a busy property professional.