Gas safety should never be ignored. 25% of all UK properties – that's 7 million homes – are thought to include dangerous gas appliances which could expose tenants to the risk of burns, poisonous gas leaks and fires.
It goes without saying that landlords need to know their legal responsibilities in terms of booking gas safety checks, but the outcomes of a recent intervention by the Government have brought about change.
Enacted by The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), 2023 has seen more than ten gas hob companies added to a gas hob safety list. Rather than confirming their safe nature, these new additions signal potentially faulty (and even fatal) gas appliances where corrective action is urgently required.
Adding these hob manufacturers to the gas hob safety list has implications for landlords and agents too. Affecting how they can legally conduct gas safety checks, always through a qualified professional, this article will address their concerns. A special focus will also be given regarding what regulations now say about the importance of gas-safe hobs.
Background of the gas hob safety list
The gas hob safety list was created following several incidents that concerned gas safety. These included an explosion at the Pershore-based Eckington Riverside Caravan Park in April 2023, where one person suffered serious burns as a result.
An investigation by The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) found that the accident arose from poor gas safety, specifically faulty elbow joints. The OPSS concluded that these sections of pipework, which connect many models of the hob to their gas supply, “could give rise to serious risk of poisoning, burns or gas explosion and/or fire”.
Something urgent had to happen to protect not only those enjoying a holiday at such locations but also everyone living in gas-connected homes throughout the country.
An update to the gas hob safety list
In response, The OPSS handed out Suspension Notices in July 2023 to stop the affected gas hob models from being sold. Later, by September 2023, Westminster had added a total of suppliers to the gas hob safety list following several gas safety incidents.
The eleven original suppliers concerned are as follows:
- Apelson Appliances UK Ltd
- Buy It Direct Ltd
- Glen Dimplex Home Appliances
- Kingfisher International Products Ltd
- Lancaster Holdings Ltd
- Maurice Lay Distributors Ltd
- Midea UK Ltd
- Product Care Trading Ltd
- Shop Direct Home Shopping Ltd
- Stax Trade Centres Ltd
- The Wright Buy Ltd
As a result, the public is being advised to check whether their gas hob appliances were manufactured by the companies which produced the models of gas hobs identified as a possible risk. Consumer website Which.co.uk reported on the Government’s intervention, noting that “The companies will conduct in-home visits to address affected hobs and ensure their safety”.
It also advises affected persons to visit the relevant manufacturers’ websites for more information about these corrective action programs being offered.
What does this mean for landlords and agents?
Landlords should continue to be vigilant in terms of maintaining and scheduling gas safety checks with appliances, including gas hobs. Just as before these developments arose, landlords and agents will have to continue to be proactive in ensuring that they comply with the safety-related rules and regulations that govern renting out a property. This information is covered in the next section for your reference.
However, the fact that The OPSS has identified and intervened to remedy the risk of this issue suggests that the Government may be looking to protect consumers by cracking down harder on landlords and agents who fail to ensure the health and safety of their tenants.
Hoping to avoid tragedies going into 2024 and beyond, the OPSS has made a plea for householders to double-check whether their gas hob needs corrective action. However, as landlords and agents, you should contact your tenants to ensure that they are not living with a faulty gas hob connector as soon as possible.
Your tenants may be unaware of the safety developments that have taken place this year. As the Propertymark website states, “It is also your responsibility to make sure that any gas pipework in the property is maintained and kept in a safe condition” as well as the mandatory annual gas safety check. So taking proactive action is wise for everyone’s peace of mind.
How to take action for safety
Access the product safety reports and freephone contact telephone number for the 12 brands of gas hobs affected here. They are:
- Belling / Stoves Gas Hobs
- Caple Gas Hobs
- Cata / Culina Gas Hobs
- Comfee Gas Hobs
- Cooke and Lewis Gas Hobs
- Cookology Gas Hobs
- Electriq Gas Hobs
- Kitchenplus Gas Hobs
- Russell Hobbs Gas Hobs
- Samsung Gas Hobs
- Statesman Gas Hobs
- Swan Gas Hobs
Each provides an elbow joint corrective action programme. If in doubt, landlords will need to have their properties checked by a suitably trained Gas Safe Register engineer to ascertain that the safety of gas hobs within the properties they rent out is not undermined by a faulty elbow joint on the affected models. They can also remind their tenants to “be vigilant” and advise them to contact the National Gas Emergency Helpline for their region (listed here) should they smell gas or feel worried about the safety of a gas hob.
Seek recognised support from Safe2
The leading provider of property safety certificates throughout the UK, landlords and agencies have been accessing the skills and services of qualified and insured gas safety engineers via the InventoryBase Workstreams network ever since.
Commenting on the developments discussed above, Safe2 has reiterated that “Gas safety is paramount, and at Safe2, we take this responsibility seriously. We recognise and emphasize the significance of ensuring safe product installation and operation for the well-being of both landlords and tenants. In light of recent developments, we acknowledge the efforts of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) in identifying potential risks associated with gas hobs”.
“In collaboration with other reputable brands, Safe2 supports the corrective action program initiated by OPSS. We are committed to delivering gas safety certificates to landlords and will work diligently to pass on the necessary information to our trades. It is crucial that everyone in the industry works together to prioritise safety.”
The importance of gas safety: rules and regulations
With around 40 deaths in England and Wales linked to carbon monoxide each year according to The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) figures, ensuring gas safety remains paramount. Therefore, we wanted to cover the importance of gas safety for landlords.
Inventory Base’s recent coverage of Gas Safety Week 2023 discussed landlords’ gas safety obligations. In summary, landlords must follow the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (GSIUR) to ensure that all gas appliances and fittings are safe to use and remain well-maintained. Including pipework, checks should also be made to flues and should only be undertaken by Gas Safe registered engineers.
Also, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) notes that it is a criminal offence to neglect your responsibility that the property you rent out is safe to live in. Failure to provide a gas safety record is a criminal offence and can result in unlimited fines, six months in prison or enforcement actions.
These consequences affirm that gas safety checks need to happen every 12 months to spot potential hazards and prevent accidents. Indeed, the law requires that a Gas Safe registered engineer conducts an annual gas safety check on all relevant appliances including hobs.
They will then provide a record of this visit and the vital landlord gas safety certificate, the CP12, in your Landlord Gas Safety Record. Offering reassurance, a qualified engineer will conduct checks on their gas safety checklist so that all parties are reassured that everything is safe to use.
Given the importance of landlord gas safety checks, it is your responsibility to ensure they are completed on time. However, should your tenants refuse access, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has previously confirmed that they won’t take legal action against landlords that have made three “genuine efforts” to access the rental property, according to the NRLA.
It recommends keeping written records of all attempts including how access was prevented or including a clause of access for repairs when preparing a tenancy. A minimum written notice of 24 hours is required under Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, which permits inspections to gauge whether repairs are needed.
Book an Inventory Base Demo
Rely on InventoryBase to support your journey as a landlord or agent, including when new developments such as the OPSS intervention transpire. We can assist you when it comes to ensuring gas safety in a property through our partnership with Safe2 and have many safety checklists and inspection templates as part of our platform.
Discover how we can help your business comply and grow by scheduling your demo via the button below.