Although you are letting to lodgers and not to tenants, the Gas Safety Regulations will still apply to you. This means that you must get your gas appliances inspected:
- before the lodger moves in, and
- then again, every year.
If you don’t do this, it is a criminal offence. Although if you are yourself a tenant (for example under an assured shorthold tenancy), your landlord should already have had the gas appliances inspected (and if he hasn’t you should complain until he does). If the inspection has been done already, you don’t need to get it done again.
Finding someone qualified to carry out the inspection
Assuming that you are not a tenant, you need to get the inspection done by an installer who is registered with the Gas Safe Register (it used to be CORGI but the Gas Safe Register took over in April 2009). They have a helpful web-site at www.gassaferegister.co.uk and you can use this to find a Gas Safe Registered installer (there is a form linked from the home page).
You will also find a lot of gas installers advertising ‘landlords certificates’ in Yellow Pages and other adverts. If you use one of these, make sure first that they are properly qualified, by checking on the Gas Safe Register web-site.
The installer will give you a gas safety certificate once the inspection has been done. You need to keep this to show to your lodger, or if you like you can give him a copy. You will need to have an inspection done every year (while you have lodgers). Failure to do this is a criminal offence.
Needless to say, if the installer finds something wrong with the appliances it is *you* who must pay for any repair work, unless it is the lodger who caused the problem.
Checking up on unsatisfactory work
Note that if you get some work done by one of the Gas Safe Installers but are worried it may not have been done properly, you should be able to get it checked out for free. Have a word with the Gas Safe people if you want this.
You can also find out more from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) web-site at www.hse.gov.uk (follow the links for Gas) as they have responsibility for enforcing the regulations.
Finally, what are the signs to watch out for? If you notice any of the following – you should get your appliances checked ASAP:
- The flame on your cooker should be crisp and blue, not lazy yellow or orange flames
- Soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances
- Pilot lights that frequently blow out
- Increased condensation inside windows
The six main symptoms of carbon monoxide to look out for are:
- loss of consciousness
Other signs that you may have CO poisoning:
- If your symptoms only occur when you are at home
- If your symptoms disappear or get better when you leave home and come back when you return
- If anyone else in your household is experiencing any of the symptoms (including your pets) and whether they appear at a similar time
If you have any of the above symptoms:
- Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house
- See your doctor immediately or go to hospital – let them know that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning. They can do a blood or breath test to check.
- If you think there is immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline
- Get a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem
Finally, if you are worried about gas leaks, note that you can obtain carbon monoxide safety alarms which will alert you if there is a problem.
(Safety information obtained from the Gas Safe Register web-site)