Gas Safety Week and Fire Door Safety Week are both fast-approaching, with the former taking place between 18 to 24 September and the latter between 25 September to 1 October.
With both just around the corner, now is the time to offer a refresher on the issues involved, as well as best advice for compliance.
Background to Gas Safety Week
Gas Safety Week is co-ordinated by Gas Safe Register with support from the gas industry including retailers, manufacturers, consumer bodies and the public. Over 7000 companies and organisations have signed up to take part this year, a thousand more than the same point last year.
The campaign is well-timed, with September being the start of the heating season, when many people will be turning on their boilers after a long, warm summer. With 23 million gas-fuelled homes in the UK, gas safety in the home is naturally of great importance.
Background to Fire Safety Week
Fire Door Safety Week was founded by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme, the British Woodworking Federation, and Fire Kills, the Government fire safety campaign.
Fire Doors remain a significant area of neglect in a property, often the first thing to be downgraded on a specification. Added to which, fire doors can often be mismanaged through their service life from being propped open, damaged and poorly maintained.
Needless to say, fire doors are a crucial part of the fire protection of every commercial, public and some types of multiple occupancy building. In short, fire doors save lives.
Do you know your Responsibilities?
Landlords are ultimately responsible for both gas and fire safety in properties but there will be instances where this duty also lies with agents. Make sure both you and your landlord’s roles are clearly stated in your contract or terms and conditions.
However, if you only offer a tenant-find service then you may want to make it clear to your landlord clients that this is very much their responsibility, and choose not to take their instruction unless they can demonstrate compliance.
Remind landlords about their responsibilities sooner rather than later, especially any new clients who are new to buy-to-let and may not yet have digested all the legal requirements of being a landlord. As the agent you have a duty to be maintaining standards of practice and this includes highlighting safety issues to your clients.
We’ve put together a quick list of duties below. If you are unsure about where the responsibility lies for any of these, seek clarification between yourself and your client as soon as possible.
- Ensure a gas safety check has been carried out on each appliance and flue within the 12 month period before any tenancy commences
- Provide a copy of the safety check record or certificate to any new tenant before they move in or to an existing tenant(s) within 28 days
- Keep a record of the safety check made on each appliance, and all other gas work, for two years.
- Maintain the gas installation and appliances, often best achieved by servicing in line with manufacturer’s recommendations
- Make tenants aware of the location of the emergency shut off valve to their accommodation and how it is operated
Watch our video on Gas Safety and Carbon Monoxide here.
- Provide an adequate means of escape in event of fire and, a level of fire detection and extinguishing equipment appropriate to the size and type of property
- If a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) ensure it complies with HMO Management Regulations, or if a licensable property, any licence conditions in relation to fire safety
- Install and maintain smoke alarms in proper working order
- Ensure that furniture and furnishings provided by the landlord meet fire resistance regulations
Check-in meetings, while not undertaken by all agents, provide a perfect opportunity to alert tenants to their own obligations, such as not propping open fire doors or bringing in any portable gas appliances.
Following the tragic events of Grenfell Tower we also blogged specifically about how to properly assess fire risks, which you can read here. Alternatively watch our video on fire safety risk assessment here or specifically for larger HMOs here.
More advice on gas and fire safety
UKALA agents should visit the UKALA Online Library for more details about responsibilities when it comes to gas and fire in the home. You can also join the UKALA Agents Accreditation Scheme to show existing and new landlord clients – as well as tenants – that you know and take these issues seriously. We also offer a fire safety logbook, which can be accessed here.
For more information about Gas or Fire Door Safety week
UKALA is dedicated to raising standards in the management of private rented properties, so we encourage all members to support these campaigns. You can pledge your support or follow both initiatives using the information below.
Gas Safety @GasSafeRegister #GSW17 #CarbonMonoxide
Fire Door Safety @FDSafetyWeek and #FireDoorSafetyWeek