Risk expert warns of gas danger in let properties

Chris Knight, General Manager of Risk Consultants Leaseguard which offers specialist insurance for landlords and tenants in the rental sector said: "Many people either involved in or using the letting industry are unaware of this change but it is most important that everyone understands what is happening."

To help raise awareness within the letting industry Leaseguard offers the following useful information from the Gas Safe Register website.

What is the Gas Safe Register?

Gas Safe Register is the new hallmark for gas safety in Great Britain. From April 1 2009, Gas Safe Register replaces CORGI gas registration as the official gas safety body.

So, from 1 April, by law, only Gas Safe-registered engineers should carry out work on gas appliances or installations in all property that is let to tenants.

Why is CORGI gas registration in Great Britain ending?

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) undertook a review of gas safety in 2006. This review concluded that there was a strong case for modernising the gas registration scheme to bring added benefits to gas consumers and gas engineers. The review called for a clearer focus on gas safety, and simple registration and competence requirements for gas engineers without compromising safety or service standards. It was an opportunity to build on the successes of the existing registration scheme, and at the same time introduce innovation and add value to gas consumer safety.

How do you check an engineer is Gas Safe registered?

Always ask for the card. All Gas Safe registered engineers have an ID card with their licence number and a photograph. The licence number is easily verified on the website or by phone and Gas Safe Register will get back to you with confirmation of the engineer’s name. If you think your engineer is not registered, just call 0800 408 5500 or let Gas Safe Register know via their website.

How do you find a Gas Safe registered engineer?

To find a Gas Safe registered engineer in your area go to www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk on or after 1 April or call them on 0800 408 5500.

If you are you a landlord or letting agent?

Landlords are legally responsible for the safety of tenants. So, to make sure any tenanted property is safe, all appliances must have a safety check carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe-registered engineer. The tenant must be given a record of that safety check within 28 days or, if a new tenant, before they move in. Remember a record must be kept of each safety check for two years.

All existing gas safety records will be valid until their expiry date (even if that date is later than 1 April 2009). Any gas safety record provided after 1 April 2009 will only be valid if the engineer is registered with Gas Safe Register.
Landlords and letting agents need to be sure of exactly who is managing the gas duties at all properties. If it’s contractually the responsibility of the letting agent, then the same conditions apply to them as that of the landlord.

If you are a tenant living in a rented property?

As a tenant, it is important to always check the ID of any gas engineer that comes to do work at the property. From 1 April 2009, the engineer must be a Gas Safe-registered engineer.

It is in the tenant’s best interest to co-operate with the landlord or letting agent whenever a gas safety check or maintenance needs to be carried out by letting the engineer in to do the work. They should ensure the landlord or letting agent supplies them with a copy of the safety check within 28 days of it being carried out or before they move in.

If they think a gas appliance is faulty they should turn it off and let the landlord or letting agent know immediately.

In an emergency: If anyone smells gas or thinks there might be a gas leak, they should turn off the gas at the meter, extinguish naked flames, open windows and leave the area. Seek medical advice if anyone feels unwell. Call the Gas Emergency Freephone Number 0800 111 999. For more information on the Gas Safe Register please log onto www.gassaferegister.co.uk

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