Landlords renting private property are urged to double check their gas safety certificates and be sure that they are up to date with gas safety legislation following a slew of prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of both landlords and unregistered gas engineers.
The HSE took legal action against a Wigan landlord after discovering he had changed the dates on a gas safety certificate for a property he was renting to a private tenant. The court was told how the tenant contacted authorities after suspecting a carbon monoxide leak. Her landlord, Terence McBride pleaded guilty to a breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 by failing to arrange an annual gas safety check.
Prior to Mr McBride’s conviction, a London landlord with several properties in Basildon was charged with breaches relating to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. The court heard how boilers in Onyemauche 'Fidelia' Peel’s properties had to be turned off because they were in such a dangerous condition tenants lives were at risk. A number of regular maintenance checks had also been missed between 2003 – 2010. Some checks were found to be carried out by unregistered engineers and an unregistered engineer used to install a boiler at one property.
In addition to targeting rogue landlords, the HSE has also prosecuted a number of unscrupulous gas installers throughout March and April. It has prosecuted several unregistered tradesmen for carrying out gas safety checks and installing gas equipment which could result in harm to tenants.
Rebecca Peach, managing director of online lettings agency I Am The Agent which provides an easy to use portal for private landlords to advertise a property online, says landlords must take gas safety regulations seriously. “The gas safety regulations are designed to protect tenants and building occupants from potentially lethal gas leaks. Using unregistered installers puts lives at risk and it’s truly disturbing to think what may have happened had the HSE not intervened in these cases. We advise all private landlords to carefully vet any gas engineers being considered for installation or routine servicing.”
The Gas Safe Register provides an official list of all registered gas engineers in the British Isles. Inclusion in this register means the tradesperson concerned is considered able to safely and legally carry out work on gas appliances.
Before advertising a property online, landlords must ensure they comply with three main areas of responsibility for any property equipped with gas appliances –
1. Pipework, flues and appliances must be kept in a safe condition and all appliances serviced according to the manufacturer recommendations.
2. Every gas appliance / flu must receive a gas safety check every 12 months. This ensures that fittings and appliances are safe to use.
3. A record of gas safety checks must be provided to the tenant within 28 days of the gas safety check being completed or in the case of new tenants, before they move in.
I Am The Agent offers a fixed fee property management service for landlords who do not wish to take on gas safety responsibilities and organisation of safety checks themselves.
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