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The Gas Safety Register's latest research has highlighted that seven million homes in the UK could house an unsafe gas appliance - with the potential to cause carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires, and explosions. Landlords and agents bear the responsibility of ensuring these appliances are safe with yearly checks - or face a fine or a potential custodial sentence - under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 in England, Scotland, and Wales.
The gas safety check
The government guidelines explain that landlords or their property managers need to use an engineer registered with Gas Safe to safely install and maintain all gas equipment in their properties and to do an annual gas safety check on each appliance. During the pandemic, the government issued additional advice on how to continue to safely conduct these checks.
What should be checked
The legislation applies to "permanent and portable gas appliances and flues", including those supplied by the landlord for the tenant's use. However, if the tenant has their own gas appliance, the landlord or agent is only responsible for the pipes and associated installation - the tenant is responsible for the safety of their own appliances.
Tenants considering installing a gas appliance will need to notify their landlord or agent in advance and should ask for those appliances to be included in any future checks, at "reasonable cost".
Keeping a record
Once the appliances have been checked, the landlord or agent will receive a Gas Safety Certificate for their records, which they'll need to keep for at least two years. They'll need to share the most recent version with tenants before they move into that property, or within 28 days of a check taking place mid-tenancy.
Rectifying any safety issues
If any issues are highlighted when the equipment is checked, the landlord or agent will need to rectify the problem at the time the check takes place or take "prompt action" to correct any defect as quickly as possible. Where this were to affect heating, the landlord or agent must provide an alternative heating solution.
If an appliance is suspected to be unsafe or dangerous to tenants, it should not be used until a solution has been found. The record of the checks is a "living document" and so should be supplemented with any proof of the follow-up action taken.
This article is intended as a guide only. It is not exhaustive and does not constitute legal advice. For more information, please refer to hse.gov.uk.
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