68,000 Homes Risked Gas Alerts Last Year
Gas is a killer that property owners need to take seriously to save lives - with 68,000 private and rented homes involved in fires, explosions and gas poisonings in the past year (2021).
Research by Gas Safe - the organisation responsible for regulating gas workers - found that 57 per cent of engineers discovered a dangerous boiler, cooker or fire that needed switching off immediately.
Almost half of the incidents resulted from homeowners failing to regularly service gas appliances.
Gas Safe also revealed one in six homes have unsafe gas appliances.
Birmingham was the worst region for gas faults, with a third of appliances at risk.
31 deaths and 1,000 gas-related injuries
Russell Kramer, chief executive for Gas Safe Register, said:
“Over the past three years, 31 deaths and over 1,000 injuries have resulted from gas-related incidents. However, it's surprising that there haven't been more, listening to our engineers tell us about the situations they face daily and hearing just how many life-threatening incidents they prevent.
“It shows what a great job registered engineers do, but at the same time the public also has an important role in gas safety. An engineer can only help keep you safe if they are invited into your home to check your gas appliances. It’s, therefore, your responsibility to make sure you stay safe by regularly getting your appliances safety checked by a registered engineer.”
Gas Safe recommends landlords have a six-point gas safety plan:
● Check Gas Safe ID
Always check an engineer’s qualifications before any gas work is carried out. Gas Safe engineers have an ID card that cross-checks business information on the Gas Safe website.
It is illegal for a no-Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out gas-related work on a buy-to-let home.
● Keep up with gas repairs
A property owner or landlord is responsible for annual gas safety checks and any remedial work needed at a privately rented home.
All gas appliances and pipework must be safe - including appliances left by former tenants that should be tested or removed before a new tenant moves in.
Don’t forget the gas safety check does not cover installation pipework, so ask the engineer for a ‘tightness test’, which checks for gas pressure and leaks in the system.
● Keep a safety check record
Give a tenant a copy of the gas safety certificate within 28 days of the check or moving in. Keep a copy for at least two years. You can keep a digital copy of the certificate as long as you can print a hard copy that identifies the engineer, the date of the test and the inspection results.
● Keep flues clear
Boxing in or other voids concealing flues must have access along their full length to allow an engineer to inspect the installation. If the engineer can’t check the flue, a ‘do not use’ sticker will be issued, stopping the tenant from heating or cooking the home.
If a ‘do not use’ sticker is issued, the appliance is switched off until repaired, and a landlord must supply emergency heating or cooking facilities until the ban is lifted.
● Carrying out a gas safety check
If a tenant fails to let an engineer in for gas safety work, keep a record of times and dates entry was attempted and failed. Write to the tenant explaining the check is a legal requirement. A landlord cannot force entry for a gas engineer, but the upshot of refusal is the tenant is breaking the rental agreement, giving ground for eviction.
● Set gas safety reminders
Property owners and landlords can set up a free reminder warning on the Gas Safe website. The calendar sends an email or text reminder a few weeks before the test date. Landlords with multiple letting properties can set warnings for each property they own.
Gas Safety Week 2022 runs from September 12 to 18 - for more information, go to the Gas Safe website.
Gas safety FAQ
What is Gas Safe?
Gas Safe is a register of 120,000 gas engineers across the UK who have the qualifications and training to work on gas installations and appliances. Engineers without Gas Safe credentials commit an offence if they work on gas installations.
What is a gas safety check?
A gas safety check is an annual inspection of a home's gas boilers, fires and other appliances. The check is optional for private homeowners but compulsory for landlords.
Do LPG appliances need a safety check?
You need an annual Gas Safe safety check if you rent a home with liquid propane gas (LPG) appliances.
Can I turn off an unsafe gas supply?
An engineer can switch the gas supply off to a home if the installation is unsafe.
Can I carry out my gas safety work?
You can only work on a gas installation if you have a Gas Safe registration and qualification.
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View Related Handbook Page
It is vital that landlords clearly understand their responsibilities and obligations in relation to gas supply and appliances and the duties and responsibilities placed on them by the gas safety regulations.