It is absolutely critical that landlords ensure that they carry out their gas safety certificates before they are due.
You are potentially at risk in the event that a gas safety is not carried out on the due date. If a tenant dies after carbon monoxide escape you would be liable. This could result in not only a fine but potentially prison. It has happened!
New rules have come into place in 2020 regarding gas safety checks. These can now be carried out earlier than before. The landlord can carry them up two months before the due date but keep the same renewal date. The renewal date is the deadline in which the renewal needs to be carried out.
Another amendment was made to the regulations. The landlord retains the last two records instead.
You also must serve on the tenant the gas safety. They then must acknowledge within 30 days. This can be made easier now checks can be carried out two months before. Under the new Deregulation Bill (see previous article here) It is not acceptable just to send it in the post to the tenant. You would either must send it by recorded delivery. Having to physically put it through the door of the property. You would then have to record the date and time which you did it. Without doing this you are unable to serve a Section 21 Notice.
WHAT IS A GAS SAFETY CHECK?
Do you know what it actually covers? It covers the following:-
- Check with the occupant to determine if there are any problems with the gas installation/appliance.
- Check that all gas appliances have an adequate supply of air.
- Ensure the effective operation of an appliance, control taps and ignition system and any supervision device is fitted.
- Inspect the flame picture of any burner
- Check clearances for combustible materials eg. Kitchen cupboards etc.
- Ensure the stability of the appliance (including the supply of bracket of hook and chain on gas cookers)
- Inspect the gas installation pipework and where applicable any flexible connections
- Open flues:-
- Check the condition and full route of the flue. Where applicable, ensure any terminal/chimney pot is suitable
- Inspect the appliance connection to any flue liner or chimney. In the case of a black back boiler check the seals of all pipe ducts and voids entering the buildings opening.
- Perform a flue flow check
- For a gas fire, inspect it and clear the catchment space, check that any dampers have been removed or fixed in the open position.
- Using any guidance given and manufacturer instructions, test the appliance for spillage
- Room sealed appliances:-
- Inspect case and site glass seal on appliance replace it if necessary
- Check the position of the terminal. Clearance for corners, vegetation etc. Ensure terminal guide is fitted as appropriate.
- Check the operating pressure or heat input rate or, where necessary, ensure both are correct
- Test all controls to ensure that the operation is satisfactory.
- Test all disturbed gas connections for tightness using leak detection fluid. Carry out a full gas tightness test if necessary.
- Inform the gas user of any further work required or make recommendations as necessary
- Further information can be found on the Health and Safety Executive webpage here.
If a wall or ceiling hides the chimney/flue preventing its inspection. An inspection hatch should be fitted. Gas safety guidance states to classify the chimney/flue as a risk if it cannot be inspected. You will need to ensure that your gas engineer checks everything for you.
The law is forever revolving regarding fire requirements and gas safeties are now being involved in this area. The Government are forever changing the rules when it comes to gas safeties and gas appliances.
A new law is being entered into from the 1st October 2022 in that any appliances of a gas burning nature need to now have a CO2 detector near them and this now includes gas boilers, Obviously, it is good for tenants and landlords to ensure there are no problems in future but it is another thing as a landlord you have to take into account. You need to put a CO2 detector anywhere where there is a fixed appliance that burns gas expect for gas hobs.
We understand that gas hobs will be looked at in future but with the phasing out of these appliances long term it is not something the Government have decided to take onboard at this time.
It is so important that landlords ensure that all of their properties are compliant by this date.
As of 1st October 2022 the legalisation will now be extending to require a carbon monoxide alarm.
The regulations apply to both houses and flats and also HMO’s and are including HMO licenses. Failing to comply can lead to a civil penalty being imposed of up to £5,000.
These provisions only apply in England at the moment. However, similar requirements are set to be introduced in Wales once the renting homes act is bought into force.
What are the requirements for smoke alarms?
During any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 whilst the premises is occupied on a tenancy the landlord must ensure the smoke alarm is equip on each storey of the premises which there is a room used wholly or partly for living accommodation.
Rooms used as living accommodation such as lounge, dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and separate toilets also now includes hallways and landings.
Mezzanines are also likely to be caught by this legalisation where they contain a room wholly or partly as living accommodation.
For individual flats located on one floor there will have to be at least one alarm on each storey of the premises.
These regulations do not stipulate what type of smoke alarm is required. Ideally it should be mains wired interconnected alarm system as being a modern standard and this will be the case in future once Grenfell has been decided.
What the requirements of carbon monoxide alarms?
Landlords must ensure there is a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in any room that is used partly or wholly as living accommodation and contains any appliance which burns, or is capable of burning solid fuels.
This would include log and coal burning stoves and open fires. But now also include gas and oil boilers.
The only exception to these are rooms where the only fuel burning appliance is agas cooker. Whilst the legalisation does not define a gas cooker precisely, the Government guidelines states it is any apparatus heated by gas and used for cooking food.
The guidance to landlords is follow the alarm manufactures instructions. This will typically be at head height between 1-3 metres away from the solid fuel burning source of carbon monoxide alarms and in a circulation point for smoke detectors.
You are now also responsible to ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are checked before tenants live at the property. In the event they go wrong you are also now required to deal with these including any battery replacement in future.
If the landlord is in breach of the local authority they may now be required to pay a penalty charge of up to £5,000. However, in the event that someone dies it is a criminal matter.
On licensed premises, failure to comply with the legalisation is a breach of a mandatory condition. This contains potential civil penalty of up to £30,000.
It is so important for landlords to carry these out correctly. It is critical for people’s health that these checks take place. We would always advise landlords to have it done as early as possible. We use a system whereby we can serve it on the tenant and have them acknowledge it in writing. Most landlords also don’t realise that they have to be served every year and failure to do so will affect a Section 21 Notice. Please contact the Administration Department on (01273) 749169 to discuss it.