Monthly Archives: October 2012

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By Ceri Adams 29 October 2012

New legislation from 01 January 2013 will lead to some properties having their gas supply cut off.   Following a criminal case into a death arising from Carbon Monoxide poisoning, a new test has been added to the Gas safety Certificate for Tenants concerning the inspection of joints in the flu where they pass through voids with no access. Simply put, it a joint cannot be accessed, it will fail. The consequences are a request to cut off the Gas supply and all the problems of a Landlord failing to provide space and water heating until the problem is corrected.

Immediate action.

This is a situation that needs immediate action, to identify properties that  may fail their next gas safety inspection.  We are tackling this in four ways: asking our gas safety engineers to identify any properties that they are aware of are a potential problem; training our staff who visit sites to be aware of this issue; contacting tenants; finally contacting landlords.  Through early identification, we plan to bring the gas flues upto regulations,  prior to the gas safety inspections and avoid any tenants having their gas supply cut off.

Extent of problem.

What needs to be realised here, is not just which boiler flues may cause concern, but also the length of time that will be needed to correct the problem. As Letting Agents, we are well aware of how problems do occur during a Gas Safety Inspection, but 99 times out of 100 the work is completed on the day, or at the very worst the following day. That inspection hatches may need to be fitted points out just how long the work could take, before a system can be given the green light.

Spotted early.

This is why we are looking now and not waiting for the problem to occur.

Best advice.

There will be much more detail in the fall out over the introduction of these important and wide reaching changes. We are aware of one Landlord who owns a block of flats, who has had to fit inspection hatches in the living room of eight properties to comply. But more than anything else is the importance of ensuring a Tenant does not lose supply and heating for any length of time. One thing for sure is that a Tenant’s permission would need to be sought to allow the gas supply to be turned off, and without permission the Landlord is left in no man’s land with a system which cannot be licensed. Nobody would want this scenario to result in anybody’s death, but it is not a scenario I am going to allow to develop and this is why we are addressing it now.

Leasehold.

The Leasehold property owner faces an even worse scenario, as it may be the shared element of their building that hides the flue and then permission will need to be sought before any works can be carried out! This is another scenario that could take several weeks to be resolved and another reason why we are looking for problems now, rather than wait for the problem to occur. We will do everything we can through being pro-active to ensure another tragedy does not occur under our Management.

Conclusion.

As a property owner, I am able to look at the action from both angles and as owners I can only recommend you do the same, or at least ask your property professional what they are doing on your behalf. One thing is sure, if nothing is done and your property comes under those that will fail, a whole new set of problems will occur and at that stage they may not be under your control!