22 October, 2010
In September 2010, two landlords of a property in Bristol were fined after a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The reason for the criminal charges was that the landlords had not complied with their duties under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
Atulkulmar Ratilal Patel and Chetna Atulkulmar Patel were fined a total of £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,800 at Bristol Magistrates' Court. Mr Patel pleaded guilty to two breaches namely replacing a boiler without being competent to do so and also for not being registered with the Gas Safe scheme. Both Mr and Mrs Patel also pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to provide a landlord's certificate in relation to the work carried out.
Cases such as this highlight what can happen if landlords do not comply with their obligations towards gas safety.
All providers of housing are under a legal duty to arrange maintenance of all gas pipe work, appliances and flues which are used by tenants by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Landlords also must arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. When such a check is carried out, a record of the inspection must be held for two years and a copy must be provided to each tenant within 28 days of the check being completed. A copy must also be issued before a new tenant moves into the property in question.
From April 2009, the Capita Gas Safe Register is the only gas installer registration scheme approved by HSE under the 1998 Regulations and has replaced the previous CORGI registration. All installers (including those used by landlords) wanting to undertake domestic gas work will need to be registered with the Gas Safe scheme in order to be able to lawfully carry out any work on both gas fittings and appliances in a property. Landlords should ensure that engineers who carry out work at their properties are Gas Safe registered.
Carbon monoxide has no smell or taste which makes identifying its presence very difficult. It can kill people without warning. In order to avoid this happening, it is advised that all residential gas appliances are properly maintained and that an annual safety check is carried out. It may also be beneficial to install carbon monoxide detectors in the property as a precautionary measure.
The HSE has stated that every year around 20-30 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with domestic gas appliances incorrectly installed or maintained. The importance of using Gas Safe registered gas engineers cannot be underestimated because of this. Landlords must ensure that they are compliant with all relevant legislation relating to gas safety.