All private landlords have to make sure the gas supply and appliances they provide to their tenants are safe. Every place that has gas must have a valid gas safety certificate. This section explains what a gas safety certificate covers, and what to do if you are having problems related to gas safety.
What's the worst that could happen?
If the gas appliances in your home are unsafe you could be at risk of fire, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide gas is invisible and has no smell. It is very poisonous and can kill quickly. If you are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning you might have symptoms such as headaches, nausea, chest pains, sudden faintness, erratic behaviour, diarrhoea or stomach pains.
There is no legal requirement for your landlord to install carbon monoxide detectors, but you can ask your landlord to provide them. If your landlord does not provide these items, it may be worth considering fitting them yourself. You can buy them from hardware shops and they are fairly inexpensive.
What should I do in an emergency?
If you think there is a gas leak in your building, call the gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999. Your gas supplier will disconnect the gas supply or appliance if it is unsafe or the risk is too great.
What responsibilities does the landlord have?
All private landlords have to have a valid gas safety certificate for all the gas equipment in the accommodation they rent out. Gas safety certificates can only be given by registered gas engineers and are valid for 12 months. In order to give a gas safety certificate the engineer has to check:
- the gas supply
- gas appliances
- gas flues
Landlords must keep copies of the inspection report and certificate and should keep records of any works carried out. You can ask for a copy. If the gas engineer notices any problems the landlord has to fix them. If a landlord fails to do this or fails to provide a gas safety certificate it is a criminal offence. The Health and Safety Executive can prosecute.
If the gas engineer identifies any problems with the gas equipment, the landlord has to get a registered gas engineer to carry out the works required. The gas engineer has the power to seal off any faulty equipment or request the gas company to cut off the supply to the property.
What about new gas appliances?
All new gas appliances provided since 1998 in bedrooms, bedsits, bathrooms, or shower rooms have to be 'room sealed'. This means that the gas burning system is sealed off from the room. New appliances must also be fitted by registered gas engineers.
What if the landlord doesn't comply?
If a landlord does not have a valid gas safety certificate, or does not do works required, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has the power to prosecute. Failure to follow gas safety requirements is a criminal offence and can be punished by fines or imprisonment.
In addition, for new tenancies starting on or after 1st October 2015, landlords who fail to provide a gas safety certificate to the tenants will not be able to serve a section 21 notice on the tenant.
How can I minimise the risks?
There are things that you can do to minimise risks to you in your home, such as:
- report and faulty equipment or problems to your landlord immediately
- make sure that smoke alarms are fitted and in working order
- use carbon monoxide detectors
- plan what to do in case of fire and be aware of all escape routes
- make sure that exit routes are clear
- keep electrical and gas appliances in good condition ask your landlord to give you a copy of the gas safety certificate
- if you suspect there is a gas leak, contact the gas supplier immediately.
Who can issue Gas Safety Certificates?
Up until 31st March 2009 the gas engineer must have been registered with CORGI. As from 1st April 2009 a replacement Gas Safety Register has taken over which is operated by CAPITA. After 1st April 2009 the certificate will only be valid if issued by a gas engineer who is entered on the Gas Safety Register. It is illegal to employ a non registered engineer. Certificates issues by CORGI registered engineers remain valid so long as they were issued no later than 31st March 2009.
For a more detailed guide on gas safety please click here.