Landlord Gas and CO2 Safety
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that takes the lives of more than a hundred people every year without warning. Landlords have duties to check gas appliances.
Tasteless, colourless and odourless, carbon monoxide is produced in homes that burn gas, oil, wood and coal. Although the fuels are safe to use in properly maintained boilers, fires and stoves, they let off excess carbon monoxide (CO2) if not correctly installed, professionally serviced or poorly ventilated.
Even if the levels of poison in a home are not enough to kill, prolonged exposure can still lead to brain damage and paralysis. As a landlord, you are responsible for protecting anyone in your rented homes from carbon monoxide poisoning
How many people die from CO2 poisoning?
Every year more than a hundred people die from carbon monoxide poisoning, and in most cases, the death is avoidable. Not all CO2 deaths are related to private rented homes, but research shows the risk of a CO2 leak is higher in a privately rented house than in an owner-occupied property.
The government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the watchdog tasked with supervising gas safety in rented homes. Data from the HSE shows CO2-related deaths have fallen by more than a third since registering 197 in 2013, but 1,777 people have still died since 2010.
CO2 deaths 2010 -2020
|Year||Number of deaths|
Source: Office for National Statistics
Landlord gas safety duties
A landlord must ensure a privately rented home is safe to live in before the tenant moves in:
- Make sure gas appliances and flues are serviced at least each year by a Gas Safe registered engineer
- Instal a carbon monoxide detector in each room with a solid fuel appliance
- Ensure a gas safety check is carried out every 12 months unless any gas appliance was installed less than a year before letting. If appliances are newly installed, they should have a check within 12 months of their installation date
- Keep gas safety certificates for at least two years or until two more gas safety checks have been carried out
- Give a copy of the safety report to the tenant before the first occupation and then within 28 days of the check being carried out
What does a gas safety check involve?
All private rented homes come under gas safety check rules, including buy to let homes, student accommodation and other shared properties, like a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
- Appliances owned by a tenant are not covered
- Boilers or flues outside the home but used to heat them are covered, like a boiler in an outhouse heating an HMO
- The safety check covers portable appliances and LPG heaters
The gas safety certificate gives:
- Describes each appliance tested
- Gives the result of the safety check for each appliance tested
- Highlights any safety issues
- Details of any action needed
- Information about the engineer who carried out the checks
Who is responsible for gas safety checks?
The onus for arranging gas safety checks falls on the landlord even if there is a managing agent or the home is sub-let. However, the landlord can agree to delegate the job to them.
What if a tenant won’t allow a gas safety check?
Your tenancy agreement should include a clause allowing reasonable repairs and maintenance access, including gas safety checks. If a tenant does not allow an engineer into their home, keep a record of any letters and broken appointments to show you have taken all reasonable steps to carry out the safety check.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations do not offer any power of entry to landlords. The last resort for carrying out the check is applying for a court order to enter the home.
What happens if a gas safety check is failed?
The gas safety check report will list any defects and repairs needed. Landlords must make sure a defective appliance stays unused until replaced or repaired. Using an unsafe appliance is an offence. Not only do you risk poisoning your tenant, but prosecution at magistrates court comes with the risk of going to jail or fines of up to £20,000 for each offence, or both. Should a crown court carry out sentencing, the penalties escalate to unlimited time in jail and an uncapped fine. In addition, a no-reason notice cannot be served if the occupier has not received a record copy.
Finding a Gas Safe engineer
A gas safety check costs between £100 and £200, plus the price of any work that requires carrying out. A professional engineer must conduct the test and any related safety repairs. Qualified engineers are listed on the Gas Safe Register.
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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.