The UK law is very detailed and prescriptive when it comes to the requirements of safety checks of rental accommodations. Annual gas safety inspection must be undertaken by a certified Corgi gas engineer to ensure the legal requirements are met. The law allows for a fine of up to 5,000 and an imprisonment of up to six months if the landlords failed to meet this requirement.
By law the landlord is required to make sure the following requirements are adhered to:
* Open flue gas appliances should not be located in the same room where people are sleeping, or a bathroom.
* Repair, service or installation work related to gas appliances should be carried out by a Corgi registered operative.
* All fixed or mobile gas appliances within the property are maintained and their safety is inspected at least once every twelve months. The inspection must be carried out by a CORGI certified engineer.
* Any work done on gas appliances within the premises should be approved according to a list of safety tests undertaken by a Corgi approved engineer.
* The tenants living in the property must have unrestricted access to all documentation relating to the gas appliances (e.g. manuals for the appliances, safety documents).
* The dates of safety inspections must be kept in a clear set of records (which should also include any defects identified and respective work done). Access should be given to the tenants to such records within 28 days of the safety inspection or prior to new tenants moving into the property.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for around 20 – 30 deaths in the UK every year. It is highly recommended that landlords install carbon monoxide detectors to protect the tenants. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is the result of incomplete burning within the boiler, and is normally a result of poor boiler installation. The gas, which is a combination of a single molecule of carbon with a single molecule of oxygen, is very dangerous as it causes serious breathing difficulties, potentially leading to lethal consequences.
The legal guidelines for landlords are very demanding when it comes to ensuring all domestic boilers are checked and serviced annually. Large landlords and housing associations find it difficult to meet such statutory requirements mainly owing to the administrative and logistical complexity of arranging access for the Corgi engineer to each property.
Landlords are finding it difficult to fulfil their legal requirements in cases such as of large blocks of flats. During normal hours, most tenants are at work and the flats are locked and empty, preventing the gas engineer from undertaking the required safety checks. Tenants are reluctant to use their annual leave days, or lose a day’s pay in order to wait at home for the gas engineer, making it difficult for the landlord to fulfil their legal requirement.
In extreme cases, a landlord has to resort to issuing an entry warrant into the property if the tenant fails to cooperate. Such cases are very regrettable as they are complicated and costly, due to the need for police to attend and additional making good costs (which can get to 500 per property).