As a landlord, you have a responsibility to provide a secure and safe home for the tenants that will inhabit it.
One of the duties that can sometimes be put on the backburner is gas safety, with landlords being reminded of their obligation for gas safety checks on their properties.
In light of Gas Safety Week, which ran from September 13-18 with an aim to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of gas supplies, research revealed that one in six homes have a dangerous gas appliance.
This further reinforces that gas appliances need to be checked every five years by a registered engineer.
But what else can landlords do to ensure their rental property remains gas safe going forward? Below, we lean on information from supplier Ideal Heating to present the top advice for landlords.
Check your appliances for warning signs
There are multiple tell-tale signs that your appliances are in need of a thorough check.
For instance, if you see yellow, lazy flames on your gas hob rather than the usual blue ones, then your hob needs to be inspected immediately. Staining or excessive soot build-up on or around appliances may also signal problems.
What’s more, if your appliance has a pilot light, do you have to relight it? If so, it will also need to be examined.
A Gas Safe-registered engineer may also need to step in if your appliance is performing differently to normal or displaying fault lights or codes.
To prevent these potential warning signs from cropping up, check when you last had your gas appliance serviced and ensure you regularly have it maintained.
Never block the ventilation around your appliance
Ventilation has always been important in the home, and this extends to the space around appliances.
This is because a lack of ventilation around appliances – whether indoors or outdoors – can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide.
Always ensure that any gas appliances have good ventilation and are used in the intended way.
Get annual checks by a Gas Safe registered engineer
As stated above, your gas appliances need to be checked every year. Failing to correctly maintain your appliance could lead to serious problems, including carbon monoxide poisoning.
When having your service done, only use Gas Safe Registered engineers. This includes when installing any appliances too. It’s a good idea to insist on seeing their Gas Safe ID card.
It’s important to remember that you are responsible for any appliances that you provide. This means ensuring gas appliances, fittings and chimneys are safe (in line with the Gas Safety Regulations 1998). However, if your tenants have their own gas appliances in the rented property, it is their responsibility to ensure that they are regularly maintained and serviced.
Always make sure that your Gas Safe engineer has a copy of the manufacturer’s instructions and services your appliance in accordance with these. Your appliance manufacturer will be able to help if you don’t have a copy.
Get a carbon monoxide detector and test it regularly
It’s crucial that you have a working carbon monoxide (and smoke) detector in your property, as early warnings can save lives.
You must also be aware of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. The six main symptoms to look out for are headaches, dizziness, nausea, tiredness, breathlessness and loss of consciousness.
Furthermore, test your carbon monoxide alarm regularly. Check that the alarm is still within the expiry date printed on the alarm.
Know how to react if there’s a leak
If you or your tenants think there could be a gas leak or carbon monoxide leak in the home, immediately turn off the gas and open windows and doors to ventilate the property. Do not operate any lights or electrical switches.
Leave the house and contact the Gas Emergency service. Do not re-enter the property until it is safe to do so. For LPG appliances where the leak is indoors, turn off the gas at the manual outlet valve. This will be on the tanks or cylinder(s). Open windows and doors to ventilate the property. Do not operate any light switches or electrical switches.
You must contact your gas supplier so they can make the installation safe and call the Fire Brigade on 999 and advise that there is an LPG Cylinder(s) or tank at your rental property.
Always make a note of the Gas Emergency Services number. Make sure all responsible persons in the property are aware of it.
Lastly, if you suspect you have been exposed to carbon monoxide, or are experiencing any symptoms. You need to seek immediate medical assistance.
For further guidance and advice on gas safety, please visit the Gas Safety Register website.
By making yourself familiar with the above tips, you can ensure the safety of your tenants. In addition, uphold a comfortable home. This not only helps to foster a healthy working relationship between both parties. But may also encourage them to stay for the long term.
Of course, your chosen letting agent – one that is experienced and knowledgeable on the compliance side of things – will be on hand to assist you with all parts of the lettings process.
Here at Harringtons Lettings, we can advise you on your lettings journey for properties in Brighton and Hove. For more information on the services we provide, particularly under current Covid-19 restrictions, please get in touch with us today.
We also offer a free online lettings valuation to give you an estimate of how much you could be charging in rent each month.