Under The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994, amended by Statutory Instrument 1996, and The Regulations Re-enact 1998 all gas appliances must be checked for safety at intervals of not more than 12 months. The certificate issued must note the date of inspection, defects identified and all remedial work action taken. The main amendment provisions are as follows:
Flues must be specifically included in any Gas Check as well as the appliance itself
The gas safety check is only validated if carried out by a Gas Safety Registered Engineer
A safety certificate must be issued and records of inspection must be retained for 2 years
This certificate must be available to a current tenant no more than 28 days from the date of inspection
New tenants must be in possession of this certificate before the due date of occupancy.
Since January 1996, gas fires, which are installed in bedrooms, must have an Oxygen Depletion Sensor. Ideally these censors should be fitted in all rooms.
This certificate is mandatory by law.
Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and The Plugs & Sockets etc (Safety) Regulations 1994 all electrical installations in tenanted properties must be safe. The regulations apply to portable domestic electrical equipment such as:
Built-in electrical goods are not covered by the regulations. As with the Gas certificate a qualified electrician should carry out an inspection of the tenanted property prior to the due date of occupancy. The same regulations applied to the availability and distribution of the gas certificate should also be applied to the electrical certificate.
This certificate is not mandatory by law.
The building Regulations 1991 require that all properties built since 1992 must have mains operated and inter linked smoke alarms fitted on every floor, but it does not cover most tenanted properties. However, it is generally agreed the common law ‘duty of care’ means that Landlords and their agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property that is not suitably fitted with smoke alarms. It is recommended that a smoke alarm be fitted to each floor (hallway and landing areas).
To ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of ALL ‘legal requirements’ and ‘duty of care’, please contact your Local Area Office of the Health and Safety / Environmental Health Department / The Department of Trade and Industry or similar bodies who will advise you accordingly.
The maximum penalty imposed in a Magistrates Court (or Scottish equivalent) for non-compliance of the above regulations is a fine of £5,000. If a case is then referred to a Crown Court (e.g. where contravention has led to a serious injury or death) an unlimited fine or custodial sentence may be imposed. If found to be non-compliant of the above regulations any insurance regarding the tenanted property may be null and void.
The following fire safety regulations should be adhered to:
Fireguards should meet BS3248 standards.
Fire extinguishers should be marked BS5423 1987.
Fire blankets should be marked BS6575 1985.
Furniture and Furnishings Safety
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide items supplied in the course of tenanted properties to comply with the minimum fire resistant test set out within the regulations. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, fabricated garden furniture, scatter cushions, pillows and additional fabric coverings etc.
All furniture manufactured before 1950 is exempt as are curtains, carpets, and bed linen, etc. In practice, items that comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Furniture manufactured between 1950 and 1983 should be carefully checked. All non-compliant furniture must be removed before the due date of occupancy. Exceptions apply!