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My Norwich

Gas and solid fuel safety

What is my responsibility as a tenant?

As a tenant you must allow us access to your home, on a yearly basis, to carry out maintenance or safety checks on appliances and/or flues that we provide for your use.

In addition to carrying out a full gas service, we also need to check properties to ensure that they are safe. This includes checking:

  • liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) units
  • electric heaters including storage heating
  • solid fuel appliances including open fires
  • district heating
  • tenants own installations
  • any other form of heating system you may be using

We will also check any gas pipe work throughout the property to ensure that it is safe.

Failure to provide access to your property is a breach of your tenancy agreement and may result in legal action to obtain access and/or possession of your home. Costs incurred to obtain access will become your responsibility. This includes any legal costs, and costs incurred as a result of failed appointments.

Who is responsible for the annual gas/solid fuel safety inspection?

As your landlord, we are required to annually inspect/sweep all council-owned appliances, including solid fuel appliances and open fires, in your property to make sure they are safe to use. The service includes gas appliances, open fires, flues and pipe work, and checks for unsafe emissions and leaks. Council-owned smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will also be checked.

After the safety inspection you are provided with a gas or solid fuel safety record, certifying a registered GAS Safe or HETAS registered engineer has completed the inspection and that the appliances are safe. Any appliances that are found to be potentially dangerous will be labelled as such, and the appropriate warning notice issued.

It is important to allow our engineers access to carry out the safety inspection. The annual safety check on gas and solid fuel appliances carried out by an approved engineer, on behalf of Norwich City Council, is a legal requirement. Always ask for a GAS Safe REGISTER ID card, or a Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme (HETAS) registered ID card, before allowing someone to check or fit gas or solid fuel appliances.

What happens when I move in?

You should arrange your own gas supply. We would recommend that you take a meter reading as soon as possible after moving in, to provide to your chosen supplier. When you move into your property you will be provided with a copy of the latest safety check record. Our approved contractor Gasway will carry out a further safety inspection if it attends the property to reconnect your gas supply.

How is the annual safety inspection carried out?

All our safety inspections and maintenance work is carried out by our approved contractor, Gasway, or an approved subcontractor.

You will receive written notification in advance of the engineer attending to carry out your inspection. Please follow the instructions in the letter.

If the appointment is not convenient please call 01603 258617 to rebook a date and specify whether you would like your visit in the morning or afternoon. Our contractor Gasway can also offer a limited number of evening and weekend appointments subject to availability.

Engineers all carry appropriate identification, which they should show before entering your property. They will carry out a full safety inspection and the certificate will be posted to you within 28 days.

If any appliance fails the inspection, and is not safe to use, the engineer is legally required to disconnect it and make it safe, and issue a warning advice notice.

If it is not possible to carry out the repair on the same visit the engineer will provide you with temporary heating and, wherever possible, temporary hot water facilities.

What if I have installed my own gas or solid fuel appliance?

If you have your own gas or solid fuel appliances in your property, such as a gas fire or cooker, the engineer is required to visually check that these are safe to use. However, we are not obliged to carry out any repairs to these appliances.

If the appliance fails the visual inspection, the engineer is legally required to disconnect the gas supply to the appliance or turn the appliance off at the switch. We will write to you to advise you of the fault and to confirm the action that has been taken. The engineer will issue a warning advice notice and the appliance will be labelled as unsafe to use.

If you own any LPG appliance please refer to section 8.8 of your tenancy agreement which states:

'You may only use bottled gas appliances in accordance with paragraph 8.7. In particular, you may only do so if the condition of your home and the lay-out of your home and neighbouring properties render it safe to do so and bottles are stored outside. Such appliances are not generally suitable for flats.'

LPG appliances can be very dangerous if used and stored incorrectly. Using and storing any LPG appliance incorrectly and not in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions is a breach of your tenancy agreement.

Please note: you must obtain written permission from us before installing any heating appliances and a GAS Safe or HETAS registered engineer must carry out the installation. This includes opening up any fireplace within your property.

We will not normally grant permission to install heating appliances, or open up fireplaces. This is due to the potential health and safety risks if this work is not carried out properly by a registered engineer, and also because of potential future maintenance costs.

It is your responsibility to ensure that any gas or solid fuel appliances you own or have installed yourself are checked on an annual basis by a GAS Safe or HETAS registered engineer. This includes any Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) appliances.

What if my heating or hot water breaks down?

Gasway is employed to repair breakdowns of council-owned appliances. Please contact us on 0344 980 3333 (24 hours).

You can contact us, report non-urgent heating repairs online, find helpful advice and tips, and request a call-back on the Gasway website.

If your breakdown occurs outside office hours and is an emergency, an engineer will try and repair the fault. If it is not possible to sort out the problem we may need to provide temporary heating and hot water  until the repair can be carried out.

What if I smell gas?

If you smell gas or think there is a leak you must phone Cadent on 0800 111 999 immediately. They should respond to your call straight away.

Do not:

  • smoke
  • ignite any flames
  • touch, or do
  • anything which may spark and ignite gas (this includes light switches, lighters, and cooker ignitions)
  • use mobile phones near the leak.

It is important you telephone Cadent if you think you smell gas; the leak may not be inside your property but could be coming from a neighbouring property or the street.

Cadent engineers will identify the source of the problem and carry out any repairs they may be responsible for, or turn off the gas supply and notify the council of any repairs that may be required (depending on the location of the problem).

Why is it important to check that gas and heating appliances are safe to use?

Most gas and solid fuel appliances need a chimney or flue to remove the fumes and to ensure that the fumes from the appliance are not mixed with the fresh air you need  to breathe. Gas and solid fuel appliances need air to burn safely. With enough air, these appliances produce carbon dioxide and water in safe amounts, which are normally taken away by a chimney or flue. A gas or solid fuel appliance will produce carbon monoxide if there is too little air, or the chimney, flue or gas vent is blocked.

What is carbon monoxide gas?

Carbon monoxide gas is highly poisonous to both people and animals. It is difficult to recognise because it has no colour, smell or taste. The danger signs are stains, soot or discolouring around the top of a gas fire or at the top of a gas water heater or boiler. A conventional gas appliance should have a normal blue flame – not yellow or orange.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those caused by other illnesses, such as colds or flu. However, if you suffer from unexplained headaches, chest pains, muscular weakness,sickness, diarrhoea, stomach pains, sudden dizziness when standing up, or general lethargy after using a gas or solid fuel appliance, or when burning fuel on an open fire, stop using it, report it to us and go and see your doctor.

The risk of dying from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a faulty solid fuel appliance or open fire (either through poor installation or lack of maintenance) is estimated to be up to 10 times higher than dying from carbon monoxide produced by a faulty gas appliance.

This information is intended as a guide only. For more information about your gas/solid fuel safety inspection or if you have any questions or need to report a fault, visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk