Domestic gas installation and health and safety

A poorly maintained gas appliance can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Learn more about the symptoms of this and how too prevent it. Find out what your rights and responsibilities are as a tenant, landlord or homeowner.

Gas Safe Register

Gas Safe Register is the official hallmark for gas safety.

All Gas Safe Register engineers carry an ID card showing the type of work they are qualified to do, so make sure you ask to see this before any gas work is carried out. 

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Every year about 30 people in the UK die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused by gas systems which have not been properly installed or maintained. Many others also suffer ill health.

When gas does not burn properly, as with other fuels such as coal, wood or oil, excess CO is produced which is poisonous.

You can't see it, taste it or smell it. CO can kill without warning in just a few hours.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, feeling tired and sick, and difficulty in thinking clearly.

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning

If you suffer from these symptoms and you think they could be caused by carbon monoxide exposure then you should:

  • stop using all your cooking and heating appliances
  • open the windows in your home
  • see your doctor at once
  • call a qualified engineer to check all your cooking and heating appliances

The best way to protect yourself is to have all gas and fossil fuel cooking and heating appliances, and flues and chimneys, serviced regularly.

The servicing (and any installation) should be done by a registered Gas Safe engineer.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has information for gas users on how to manage gas appliances/equipment safely.

It also tells you what to do in an emergency and provides advice for landlords, and letting agents on how to keep to the law. 

Landlords

As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. There is legislation dealing with a landlord's duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants' use are safe.

Landlords should:

  • make sure installation pipework, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition
  • make sure an annual safety check is carried out on each appliance or flue you provide for tenants' use
  • make sure maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a Gas Safe registered installer
  • keep a record of each safety check for two years
  • send a copy of the safety check to each existing tenant within 28 days of a check being completed and to any new tenant before they move in
  • make sure all gas equipment, including any appliance left by a previous tenant, is safe or is removed before re-letting
  • if a managing agent is used to help the landlord in meeting their duties, make sure that the management contract clearly specifies who is to make arrangements for maintenance and safety checks to be carried out and for keeping records, however, the landlord maintains overall responsibility for ensuring duties are met, regardless of whether a managing agent is employed
  • make sure that anyone carrying out work on gas appliances/fittings or flues provided for tenants' use has the required competence and that only Gas Safe registered installers are used

When a landlord uses a property managing agent

If a landlord uses an agent, the landlord is still responsible for gas safety maintenance, checks and records. 

Tenants

Tenants should:

  • allow your landlord access to the property to carry out maintenance or safety checks on gas appliances or flues that they provide for your use
  • make sure that gas appliances or flues you own are regularly maintained, with a safety check carried out at least once every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered installer
  • make sure that if there is any doubt about the safety of gas equipment it is turned off and not touched until checked by a Gas Safe registered installer, and remedial action taken as necessary

Homeowners

As a homeowner, you are responsible  for making sure:

  • your gas fittings and appliances are safe
  • all gas appliances or flues are regularly maintained and a safety check carried out annually or at any other time if there is a safety doubt by a Gas Safe registered installer

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