Faulty gas appliances can be very dangerous. Fortunately some of the toughest laws regarding rented accommodation relate to this area, so your landlord should be taking every step to keep them safe. In addition to the information on this page, the Gas Safe website has lots of information about both the legal aspects and gas safety.
“Every year about 58 people die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused by faulty gas appliances and flues which have not been properly installed or maintained.
Many others also suffer ill health. When gas does not burn properly, as with other fuels such as coal, wood or oil, excess CO is produced which is poisonous.
You can't see it, taste it or smell it but CO can kill without warning in just a matter of hours.
Symptoms of CO can include tiredness, drowsiness, headaches, giddiness, nausea, vomiting, pains in the chest, breathlessness, stomach pains, erratic behaviour and visual problems. These symptoms can mimic many common ailments and may easily be confused as flu, or simple tiredness.
If you or your family experience the above symptoms and you believe CO may be involved you must seek urgent medical advice.
Your doctor will need to test you for a blood or breath sample. Be aware, CO quickly leaves the blood and tests may be inaccurate if taken more than four hours after exposure has ceased.”
If a rented property has any gas appliances in it (such as a gas central heating boiler, a gas fire, or a gas cooker) the landlord must by law have it inspected by a Gas Safe registered tradesman every twelve months. There are serious penalties for not doing so.
Your landlord should provide you with a copy of the Gas Safe tradesman’s certificate showing that the appliances are safe to use. If they do not, ask them for one. If they cannot show you a current valid certificate straight away, confirm the request in writing to the landlord, advising them that they are legally obliged to have the appliances certified, and giving them a relatively short period of time to supply one.
If you’re left waiting for a few days you should get and use a carbon monoxide detector, they’re no substitute for a Gas Safe Inspection check, but they can give you some piece of mind while the certificate is in the post.
If you are suspicious about the validity of any certificate provided you can call Gas Safe to check out the registration details of the tradesman.
If you want to take further precautions about the safety of the appliances, you could get Carbon Monoxide detectors. They range from very simple (and cheap) ones with a sensitive disk that changes colour in the presence of Carbon Monoxide to more expensive audible ones. Whilst they cost a little bit more, audible alarms don’t rely on you noticing them – if there’s a problem they’ll tell you loudly!
If your CO alarm goes off, contact Transco’s gas emergency service on 0800 111 999. If anyone in the house feels unwell, seek medical assistance urgently. You can also call Transco if you suspect any other types of gas emergencies, such as a gas leak.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) has no taste or smell, but is poisonous, killing around 58 people every year.
Get a CO alarm, preferably audible.
Your landlord must have all gas appliances inspected annually by a Gas Safe registered tradesman.