The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 specifically deal with the installation, maintenance and use of gas appliances and installations in rented residential property.
Gas and electrical safety
What are the dangers?
Older gas or water heaters or those appliances that have not been properly installed or maintained may emit carbon monoxide if the gas supplied to them does not burn properly. The problem is that carbon monoxide has no colour, taste, or smell and is highly poisonous. If allowed to accumulate in a confined space it can cause tiredness, drowsiness, headache and chest pains. In extreme cases, long-term exposure can be fatal.
Occupiers are particularly at risk of poisoning if the appliance is poorly installed, not working properly, has not been regularly checked or serviced by a competent person, the flue to the appliance has become blocked or the fixed ventilation grilles or air bricks have been covered.
Look for these danger signs:
- stains, soot or discolouring around a gas fire or at the top of a water heater
- a yellow or orange flame on a gas fire or water heater
- a strange smell when the appliance is on
What does a landlord need to do?
The Regulations require that the landlord must:
- ensure that the gas fittings are maintained in a safe condition
- ensure that an annual safety check is carried out on each gas appliance
- have all installation, maintenance and safety checks carried out by a CORGI-registered gas installer
- keep a record of each safety check for at least two years
- give a copy of the safety record to each tenant within 28 days of the check, and a copy to new tenants before they move in
- there are other requirements about the installation of certain gas appliances in sleeping accommodation (please use the contacts below for more information)
What action should I take in the event of a gas escape?
If you small gas, or suspect there is a gas escape, you should immediately shut off the gas supply and contact the Gas Emergency Freephone Number 0800 111 999.
For more information on gas safety
The Health and Safety Executive Gas Safety Advice Line 0800 300 363
The HSE Gas Safety website
The Gas Safe Register has replaced CORGI registration.
The Gas Safe website
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 can be found at
Electricity can cause shocks and burns and can start fires. All fixed electrical installations should be designed, installed, operated and maintained with the aim of preventing risk to the occupiers. The standard of electrical wiring in a rented property should conform to BS7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations.
It is recommended that electrical installations are inspected and tested at regular intervals, at least every 5 years in the case of a rented house. This should be carried out by a competent person, ideally an electrician registered with NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) or the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association).
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires that a landlord ensures that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when a tenancy begins and is maintained in a safe condition throughout that tenancy. For Houses in Multiple Occupation, specific regulations impose a duty on landlords to ensure the electrical wiring in letting rooms and common areas is maintained in a safe condition and in proper working order. Please refer to the “Duties of the manager” section in “Houses of multiple occupation” for more information.
Electrical checks should also extend to portable equipment and appliances to ensure they are in good repair, sockets are correctly positioned and not overloaded, plugs are correctly attached and cables undamaged. Landlords who provide portable electrical appliances for use by tenants are under an obligation to ensure that they are safe to operate.
What should I look for?
- broken, cracked or damaged electrical fittings
- the use of temporary connectors to join flexible cables
- burnt, melted or distorted socket outlets or switches
- exposed or bare core wires serving sockets, light fittings or appliances
- the number of socket outlets available – are there sufficient to prevent overloading and the use of trailing extension cables?
- the presence of socket outlets and switches in bathrooms and shower rooms
- missing or damaged smoke detectors or regular faults indicated on a fire alarm system control panel (if fitted)
- regular false alarms from a fire alarm system (if fitted)
What action should I take?
Tenants should immediately report any evident electrical problems such as those described above to their landlord. No attempt should be made to repair or alter the electrical installation as to do so could increase the risk of personal injury.
Landlords should carry out the following to safeguard the safety of their tenants:
- have the ring main and lighting circuits periodically inspected by an NICEIC or ECA registered electrician
- have all fire alarm and detection systems (if fitted) inspected on a regular basis; BS 5839 Code of Practice for the Design and Installation of Fire Detection and Alarm Systems in Buildings gives details of recommended testing intervals and certification that should be obtained when the system is first commissioned and subsequently tested
- ensure all lettings are provided with sufficient and suitably positioned socket outlets to prevent overloading
- ensure there are no socket outlets in bathrooms other than those connected to a 12volt AC supply eg. shaver sockets
- undertake a test of portable appliances at least every two years and when the tenancy changes
- respond promptly to any concerns raised by tenants
Building Regulations Part P – Electrical Safety
From 1st January 2005 the design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations in domestic dwellings will be controlled under the Building Regulations. The measures have been introduced to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires caused by faulty electrical installations and to make it harder for ‘cowboy’ builders to leave wiring in an unsafe condition.
Small jobs, such as providing a socket outlet or a light switch on an existing circuit, will not need to be notified to the Council’s Building Control Team (although there will be some exceptions for high risk areas like kitchens and bathrooms). However, work that involves adding a new circuit or alterations in kitchens, bathrooms or ‘special locations’ will either need to be notified or be carried out / certified by a competent person who is registered with a ‘Part P Self Certification scheme’.
More information about these requirements can be obtained from the Council’s Building Control Team on 023 9283 4722.
For more information on electrical safety
National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting
Electrical Contractors Association
Institution of Electrical Engineers
Electrical Installation Self-Assessment Scheme
National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers