Annual gas safety checks imminent for rented accommodation

Annual gas safety checks will form part of new rental accommodation standards, the government has reassured, after an inquest concluded that a gas explosion caused by a leaking pipe caused the death of a farm worker last year.

he minimum standards, which were introduced by the Environment Minister and received Privy Council approval in February, will also involve the provision of smoke and heat detectors, as well as carbon monoxide alarms in a bid to make all rental properties safer.

The annual Gas Safety check will have to be carried out on any property with a live gas supply, including where a gas supply has been capped off. This would enable to detect any leak in the pipe work, even where no appliances were connected.

Government officials this week confirmed that they will apply to all rented dwellings – including those associated with employment, such as farm workers’ accommodation.

Earlier this week, an inquest concluded that Michal Kmuk, a 40-year-old farm worker employed by the Jersey Royal Company, had died from multi-organ failure due to 80% total surface burns sustained in an explosion at his flat. The cause of the explosion had been a damaged and leaking gas pipe in his accommodation which he accidentally ignited while lighting a cigarette.

The Law will also allow the inspection of rented properties and give powers to ensure the properties meet minimum standards. Those standards will be set by the Environment Minister by way of a Ministerial Decision.

Rented dwellings could also be licensed in the future if the States Assembly agrees to it. 

Stewart Petrie, the Director of Environmental Health, said: “This new law will help protect people living in rental accommodation in Jersey by ensuring that everyone has access to good quality, secure housing. It will mean that every rental property in Jersey meets the basic minimum standards that any modern, developed economy should be able to offer.

"It is a significant step in setting and enforcing health and safety standards, and the ability to license rented accommodation will help people to lead safe and healthy lives.”