Many landlords fail the test on Gas Safety
With the scarcity of affordable housing and the stringent restrictions on Mortgage lending it is not surprising that the number of rented properties is booming. Anyone considering renting a property, particularly from a private landlord should be aware of their rights as a tenant and the legal responsibilities that demand your landlord keeps the property safe and free from health hazards.

It is therefore disturbing that the results of a survey into fire safety in rented property indicate a serious lack of compliance with even the most basic gas safety requirements required by law. The survey conducted by the charity Shelter and British Gas asked more than 4,000 private tenants in England about the last time their landlord or letting agent carried out a safety check of their heating boiler. 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 are vital in helping to prevent gas leaks, explosions and carbon monoxide leaks – all of which can potentially kill. The survey also found that 15% of landlords were actually unaware of their legal responsibility to make sure their properties have an annual gas safety check and certificate despite risking fines or even imprisonment for non-compliance.

When it comes to your safety be aware that your landlord must provide the following:
Ensure gas equipment is safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer
Have a registered engineer carry out an annual safety check on each appliance and give you a copy of the gas safety check record before you move in, or within 28 days of the check
The electrical system (eg sockets and light fittings) is safe and PAT tested
All appliances the landlord supplies (eg cookers, kettles) are tested and safe
Basic Fire safety provision including where appropriate access to fire escapes and provision of fire alarms and fire extinguishers, particularly in multi occupancy accommodation.

As a tenant you can conduct you own simple gas safety checks such as looking for signs of staining, soot or discolouration on or around gas boilers, fires and water heaters, and checking that pilot lights and other gas flames burn blue. You can also fit your own Carbon Monoxide and Smoke detectors for added protection.