Carbon Monoxide Awareness for Homeowners and Landlords

November 3, 2015

November is Northern Ireland’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month, developed by members of the Northern Ireland Carbon Monoxide Safety Group.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month aims to remind people to stay safe in their homes against carbon monoxide poisoning by:-

  1. Making sure that boilers and fuel burning appliances are serviced annually by a registered engineer.
  2. Having chimneys inspected annually and swept if required by a registered technician.
  3. Check for warning signs if appliances are not working correctly.
  4. Recognise the 6 signs of carbon monoxide poisoning:- headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness.
  5. Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm as a safety measure to alert them if carbon monoxide is present in their homes.

Landlord’s Responsibilities and Gas Safety

If you are a Landlord of a property equipped with gas appliances it is important to be aware of the 3 main responsibilities regarding gas safety:-

  1. Maintenance

Pipe work, appliances and flues must be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. If these are not available it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a gas safe registered engineer.

2.  Gas Safety Checks

A 12 month gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance and flue. A gas safety check will ensure that gas fittings and appliances are safe to use.

3.  Keeping Records

A record of the annual gas safety check must be provided to your tenant within 28 days of the check being completed or to new tenants before they move in. Landlords should keep copies of the gas safety record for 2 years.

When an existing tenant vacates the premises, Landlords should ensure that gas fittings and appliances are safe before re-letting the property. Tenants may have removed appliances unsafely or left their own appliances in place. Landlords should ensure that appropriate checks are carried out and any unsafe equipment is either rectified or removed before the start of a new tenancy. It is also recommended that installation pipe work is inspected and tested for soundness before property is relet if it is suspected that any alteration has occurred or the emergency control valve has been operated. It is important to note that Landlords of residential properties cannot delegate duties regarding gas safety to tenants, except in circumstances where a contract may be drawn up between a landlord and tenant for an appliance or flue installed in a non residential part of the premises (for example, shops or public houses). Tenants incidentally have a duty not to use an appliance they believe to be dangerous.

If, as a Landlord you employ a managing agent in respect of your premises, it is important to note that the Landlord ultimately retains overall responsibility for ensuring compliance with gas safety requirements. The management contract should clearly identify who is to make arrangements for maintenance and gas safety checks to be carried out and keeping records. Failure to maintain gas appliances can lead to loss of life in the most severe circumstances. Landlords also risk prosecution which could result in imprisonment or monetary penalties or both depending on special circumstances.

For further information on gas safety requirements and carbon monoxide awareness month, please refer to: www.hseni.gov.uk

For more information and advice on using gas safe registered installers visit the gas safe register website at: www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Please note that the content of this article is for information purposes only and further advice should be sought from a professional legal adviser before any action is taken.