This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.
We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to Require all Westminster properties to produce a Gas Safe certificate at every Council Tax renewal. More details
Petition update from the council, 14 November 2017
Dear Ms Scott,
RE: Response to Petition – Requesting all Westminster properties be required to produce evidence of a current Gas Safe certificate each year at council tax renewal.
I am writing to you as lead petitioner in response to the above petition received on the 20th September. The petition requests that Westminster Council should require evidence of a Gas Safety Certificate from all properties within the borough and suggest that this could be checked each year with Council Tax renewal procedures.
You have also expressed your concerns that currently it is only landlords that are required to carry out Gas Safe inspections and believe that this often goes unchecked and poses a risk to residents in the borough. You have explained that whilst you recognise this could cause additional expense to property owners you believe the potential risk justifies this course of action and recommend possible subsidies being put in place for elderly owner occupiers who might find it difficult to pay.
The petition has now closed (20th October) for the collection of signatures and I can confirm it has received 2 signatures in total.
The legislation that covers gas systems, appliances and flues (and therefore the requirement for a Gas Safety Certificate) is the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. This legislation covers rented accommodation, public premises, such as offices, shops and hotels but does not cover privately owned dwellings. This is because any potential risk of exposure in owner occupied properties is deemed to be limited to that household whereas the other types of properties listed may pose a potential risk to members of the public (tenants are included in this description).
There are specific requirements within the Regulations regarding gas safety checks, who should carry these out, and how often. Essentially the Regulations state that landlords will be responsible for gas safety checks and maintenance of systems however private owner occupiers have no legal obligation to do the same. The enforcement of these regulations is undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive; not by the Local Authority. Further information and advice regarding this can be obtained through their website : http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/
or call 0800 300 363.
If implemented, your request for the Council to ‘require’ a copy of a Gas Safety Certificate from all premises in the borough, and to make this a part of the process for council tax renewals would be classified as the Local Authority acting ‘ultra vires’. Basically this means that the Local Authority would be insisting on action and information from our businesses and residents that the legislation does not cover and that we cannot enforce. This would be open to challenge and appeal from anyone impacted by such a procedural change.
Whilst I fully appreciate your outlined concerns I would like to offer reassurance that the issue of gas safety is taken seriously in the borough.
For example with certain types of properties i.e. Houses in Multiple Occupation (shared houses, bedsits) there are specific regulations in place (Houses in Multiple Occupation Management Regulations) that enable us to require the production of a Gas Safety Certificate from the Landlord. Where the HMO is licensable this will actually be a licence condition for the landlord to supply this.
In privately rented properties the Council can inspect and assess housing conditions to consider possible hazards in the home (Housing Act 2004). This could relate to issues like damaged or defective boilers. However in this situation we can require repairs or improvements and enquire about the Gas Safety Certificate but, as highlighted earlier, we cannot take enforcement action per se regarding this aspect alone.
I can also confirm that with respect to any Council owned or Registered Social Landlord properties in the borough there is a programme of inspection and certification for these properties in place to meet the legislative obligations.
I hope this explains the context of the current legal framework and responsibilities and clarifies why your request, at this time, cannot be realised.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any queries regarding this matter.
Director of Public Protection and Licensing
More details from petition creator
In the interests of safety, require ALL Westminster properties to produce evidence of a current Gas Safe certificate each year at council tax renewal. An uploaded image of the certificate would be sufficient. Currently, only landlords are required to carry out an annual Gas Safe inspection and this often goes unchecked, leaving tenants of unscrupulous landlords and any Westminster resident vulnerable to poisoning by carbon monoxide from neighbouring properties that do not have or are not currently required to have an annual Gas Safe certificate.
Miss Scott, the petition creator, joined by: