Gas and Electrical Safety Advice.

By: Rick Skew

Being a landlord, you have a legal obligation to make sure that the property you let is safe for the tenants to live in. Normally speaking, gas and electrical systems and appliances present the highest risk of injuries. It really is vital that you make sure that these systems are not dangerous.

For gas installations:
You must ensure that every one of the fittings and flues are maintained properly and in a safe condition. This means you should have gas installations and appliances serviced every 12 months, and you need to keep a record of the service being carried out.

It is advisable to have a gas safety check done on all gas appliances and flues annually. A Gas safety certificate is a legal requirement. Ideally, check gas installations and appliances immediately before the start of any new tenancy, even if the gas safety certificate is still current.

Your managing agent should do this for you. Only a Gas Safe registered plumber or central heating engineer is qualified to repair or certificate anything attached to the gas system. For example, handling boilers, flues or cookers. Make certain that you keep a record of each safety check for 2 years. Your Gas Safe engineer will issue this certificate. You must also ensure you give a copy of the Gas Safe engineer’s safety check report and certificate to your tenants.

The statutory regulations are: Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. These regulations are enforced through the Health and Safety Executive.

For electrical installations:

Whilst there is not a requirement by law to get the fixed wire electrical system checked for safety, it is good practice and often a requirement for a good property management agency to provide a Periodic Inspection Report. When the system is safe as well as in good condition, it will have 'Satisfactory Inspection' listed on the PIR document. A check every 5 years is generally deemed to be satisfactory.

All properties built since June 1992 are bound by building regulations to have inter-connected mains operated smoke alarms fitted on every level of the building. In older properties this is not a requirement.

However, landlords are well advised to supply a minimum of a battery operated smoke alarm as a duty of care. When you fit battery-operated smoke alarms unfortunately, it becomes the landlord’s responsibility to check them regularly and for the batteries to be changed regularly. This makes installing a mains operated smoke alarm look more attractive and cost efficient in the long term.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 stipulate that all electrical equipment in tenanted residential properties must be safe.

Any electrical equipment you provide should be in good working order and safe. E.g. kettles, cookers, microwaves, televisions and washing machines. Technically a PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) procedure should be applied. This is a test for every appliance to make sure that it is safe. A sticker with the pass date is stuck onto it and a record kept. For landlords with multiple properties this can be time consuming and expensive. Ideally keep the amount of electrical equipment you supply to the tenant at an absolute minimum.

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I have spent a lot of my time working for a company called Gas Engineers London and I have seen some pretty sites and some not so pretty sites. Over the years I have realised that there is a lot can be done to avoid calling a plumber or gas engineer out.

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