A recent article posted in The Guardian (9th May 2013) highlighting an issue that affects many people not just tenants!! Annual gas checks are a MUST for anyone with a gas appliance or boiler to ensure your and family’s safety. If you are a landlord….beware! You are breaking the law!
Despite the law requiring a gas safety certificate to be issued annually, Shelter says one in 10 landlords and agents have not carried out a check for more than a year
As many as one in 10 landlords and letting agents could be putting their tenants’ lives at risk by failing to carry out compulsory gas safety checks, according to Shelter.
The housing charity, in conjunction with British Gas, asked more than 4,000 private tenants in England about the last time their landlord or letting agent carried out a check of their boiler for, among other things, a carbon monoxide leak. One in 10 said a check had not been carried out in their home for more than a year.
The law states that a gas safety certificate must be issued annually for each rented property. Gas safety checks can pick up a range of problems including faulty boilers, and are vital in helping to prevent gas leaks, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning – all of which can kill.
“It’s shocking to think that in thousands of households across the country there are accidents waiting to happen because a simple safety check has not taken place,” said Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb. “For households with children this is an even bigger concern. Renters have a right to know that the property they are living in is safe.”
Shelter cited the case of one tenant, Susan, and her 15-year-old daughter who have been living in their privately rented home for 11 years. Despite continual requests, no gas safety certificate was issued for the property until two years ago. During this time they had three gas leaks and long periods with no central heating or hot water.
“It is really horrible not to feel safe in your own home,” Susan said. “We had several gas leaks before we finally got a gas safety certificate, and now I’m having to fight all over again for the next one.”
The housing charity also found that one in seven (15%) landlords was unaware of their legal responsibility to make sure their properties have an annual gas safety check and certificate. Landlords who fail to meet gas safety regulations in the homes they rent can face fines and even imprisonment.
Research in 2012 from Gas Safe, the organisation that registers gas engineers to work on appliances in the UK, revealed widespread confusion about what the key symptoms are of carbon monoxide poisoning.
More than half of those questioned wrongly thought that a funny taste in the mouth indicated carbon monoxide poisoning, while a third thought a cough and 29% thought a sore throat were symptomatic. In fact the key symptoms are headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.
Andy Maddocks, a British Gas engineer, said simple gas safety tests that households could carry out include looking for signs of staining, sooting or discolouration on or around gas boilers, fires or water heaters, and checking that pilot lights and other gas flames burn blue.