Badly fitted or faulty gas appliances and gas pipework, and blocked chimneys and flues, can all be life-threatening. If you live in rented accommodation, here’s what you need to know to ensure the safety of you and your family.
Gas safety for tenants
Landlords have a legal duty to arrange gas safety checks in rented properties. It’s really important that your landlord arranges these checks on an annual basis, to make sure all gas appliances are safe and fit for your continued use. Checks can include:
- Making sure products of combustion (fumes) are being safely removed outside via the flue or chimney
- Ensuring an appliance is burning the gas properly, and that there’s an adequate supply of fresh air for it to do so
- Making sure all safety devices are working properly
- Shutting off an appliance if a fault is found
If a Gas Safe registered engineer visits your home to carry out a safety check, it’s important to let them do so - but don’t forget to check their Gas Safe ID card first. This is proof that they’re Gas Safe registered and shows what types of work they’re qualified to undertake.
Gas Safety Records
When an engineer does a gas safety check at the property you’re renting, they’ll record the checks they carry out on a form. This is called a Gas Safety Record, and it should list all of the appliances and fittings they’ve checked.
Whether you’re renting from a private landlord, the council, a housing association or any other type of landlord, they should provide you with your own copy of this record within 28 days of the check being completed. New tenants just starting a tenancy should also be given a copy of the latest record.
If you don’t have a current copy of the Gas Safety Record (sometimes called a tenant Gas Safety Certificate), ask your landlord to provide this. If they’re unable to do so, you can report them to the HSE. Failure to follow gas safety requirements and uphold tenant gas rights is a criminal offence and the HSE can issue a formal caution and may prosecute your landlord.
Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms
Carbon monoxide (CO) can be deadly and is especially dangerous because you can’t see, taste or smell it. We’d advise investing in an audible carbon monoxide alarm; you can buy one at any DIY store for around £20. Once it’s yours, you can take it with you wherever you go next. Make sure the alarm is marked BS EN 50291 and displays the British Standards Kitemark.
Student gas safety in rented properties
As a student, you’re just like any other tenant in that your landlord must ensure that any gas appliances in the property are safe for you to use. Knowing your rights – and the hangover-like warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning - might just save your life.
If you own your own appliances, or have other specific circumstances, these may not be covered by your landlord’s legal responsibilities - find out more about your landlord's duties.