AS THE MERCURY FALLS, THOUGHTS TURN TO GAS SAFETY
Published 23 September 2022
After one of the hottest summers on record, the temperatures are finally starting to dip, and with that comes the decision we all have to make about firing up the central heating for the first time.
I suspect that for many people, this autumnal landmark moment might be a little later this year than in previous years, as we are all focussing on the need to limit our gas usage in the light of huge energy cost increases – even with the recently-announced cap on prices. Even with all the various government support, by April next year we will be paying close on double what we were last autumn for our energy.
But aside from financial considerations, there is another, even more important thing to think about as we disturb our boilers from their summer slumbers, especially for landlords, and that is gas safety. It is no accident that Gas Safety Week takes place every September, to remind ourselves of the need to ensure we protect everybody from the invisible, odourless yet deadly menace that is carbon monoxide.
For landlords, the issue is particularly acute this year, as new Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations come into force on 1st October – in other words, next week.
The new rules state that all landlords must ensure a functioning carbon monoxide alarm is provided in any room used as living accommodation which contains a ‘fixed combustion appliance’ (excluding gas cookers). They are also legally obliged to ensure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced should the alarms be found to be faulty once they are advised by the tenant.
Failure to fit carbon monoxide detectors carries significant consequences for landlords. If they are lucky, they will simply be hit with a fine, which can be up to £5,000. If they are unlucky, they will end up being responsible for the death of their tenant through carbon monoxide poisoning.
No-one likes red tape, but regulations such as these are there for a very good reason. As the ‘whoomph’ sound of boilers firing up the central heating is heard across Norfolk this autumn, let’s ensure that a warm, comfortable home is the only result, rather than a wholly avoidable tragedy.
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