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Gas Cooking Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1989

(Consumer Protection Act 1987)

Commencement:

The Regulations came into force on 1st March 1989.

Scope:

The Regulations relate to the supply of all equipment for cooking purposes by means of burning gas. Included is all equipment designed or suitable for domestic use in a dwelling, ship or caravan. The regulations are introduced as secondary legislation under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Because the Regulations operate with the same definition of ‘supplier’ as the Consumer Protection Act, then letting agents and landlords letting in the ‘course of business’ are liable as suppliers.

The Regulations impose the obligation on the supplier of such goods to ensure that they are ‘safe’ as defined by section 19 of the Consumer Protection Act, so that there is no risk of injury or death to humans or pets, or risk of damage to property.

The Regulations require:

GENERAL SAFETY. That all gas cooking equipment supplied in the rented property is safe.

INSTRUCTIONS. Where the safe use of the equipment relies upon the user being aware of any particular characteristic, suitable information or instruction booklets must be provided. The necessary information may take the form of markings or recognised graphic symbols on the equipment itself, or where this is not practicable, in a notice accompanying the equipment.

GENERAL PROVISIONS. The Regulations include provisions concerning risk of injuryarising from:

  • the combustion or escape of gas
  • the surface temperature of parts of the appliance
  • the breakage of any glass components
  • the stability of the appliance
  • Inadequate instructions, markings and warnings where such information is necessary for the safe use of the appliance. The instructions should be given in English language.

Letting agents and landlords should consider the following action:

ESSENTIAL:

  • Check all gas cooking appliances in all managed properties as soon as practicable for obvious defects (e.g. gas leaks, loose fittings, blocked pilot jets etc.)
  • Inform landlords of the new regulations and their obligations.

RECOMMENDED:

  • Have all appliances checked by a qualified engineer (e.g. GasSafe installer )
  • Ensure that instruction booklets are available at the property the appliance(s) and that any necessary safety warnings are given to tenants.
  • Avoid purchasing second-hand electrical appliances for rented properties and advise owners likewise. If used appliances are installed, it is advisable to have them checked by a qualified engineer.
  • There is no specific requirement for regular testing under the regulations. However, in order for the agent to ensure compliance, a check should be made of the gas appliances whenever the property is let.

Exclusions and Indemnity:

DUE DILIGENCE.Section 39 of the Act provides a defence of ‘due diligence’. That section provides that it shall be a defence to show that a person took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence. Merely asking the landlord to sign a statement that there are no non-compliant items is not considered to be sufficient in this respect.

Penalty:

The penalty for non-compliance with the regulations is a substantial fine set at Level 5 of the standard scale or even imprisonment in serious cases.

Previous Regulations:

Gas Cooking Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1984

Sources for Further Information:

  • Local Trading Standards Officer
  • A downloadable version of the Regulations are available from www.legislation.gov.uk
  • A hard copy of theGas Cooking Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1989, (S.I. 1989 No. 149)are available from from The Stationery Office Ltd, PO Box 29, Norwich, NR3 1GN. Tel: 0870 600 5522
  • The Letting Centre, website: www.letlink.co.uk

Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

This summary is intended to assist landlords and letting agents to understand the effect of the Regulations. It is not an authoritative interpretation – this is a matter for the courts. For more detail, you should refer to the text of the Regulations themselves.