Unsafe gates - landlords & agents beware

Landlords and letting agents are only too aware of the safety requirements concerning any gas installation in a property. But what about their responsibilities in relation to an automated gate? Sadly, the same appreciation of the potential hazards associated with an automated gate simply does not exist …

Gate Hazard
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, requires that gas boilers can only legally be fitted by a ‘Gas Safe’ registered installer. Once notified by the Gas Safe engineer, the local council issues a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate. The certificate belongs with the house and should be passed to any new owner if the property is sold. If a property is let that is equipped with gas appliances the landlord has three main responsibilities:

- Maintenance
- Gas safety checks
- Gas safety records (Landlords must keep copies of the gas safety record for two years.)

All installation, maintenance and safety checks need to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Now simply replace the word ‘gas appliance’ with the word ‘automatic or ‘powered’ gate’ and ‘Gas Safe’ registered installer with ‘Gate Safe’ in the above paragraphs and imagine the difference that would make to standards of automated gate safety?

Surely a homeowner with an automated gate has the same responsibility to pass on details to any buyer advising of the gate’s safe installation and ongoing maintenance to ensure its continued safety? And a letting agent should be able to reassure any prospective tenant that the automatic gate featured on the property has been installed in line with accepted best practice, and is being regularly and routinely reviewed to identify any issues which might impact on its safety?

In reality, this is currently not the case. ‘Anyone’ can technically install a gate or indeed transform a regular manual gate into the powerful machine that best describes any automated gate installation and no formal ‘paperwork ‘ is required to validate its safety and compliance with the recognised protocol. The owner of the gate has no formal obligation to demonstrate that the gate has been fitted by a reputable professional with the requisite knowledge to undertake such an installation. Nor is there any requirement to show proof that the gate has been appropriately maintained and this applies whether the property is being sold or rented out.

Indeed, a situation may (and has) occured where an installer might visit a property with an automated gate. The installer identifies potential safety hazards associated with the installation and recommends the appropriate remedial steps be taken. In the interim they recommend that the gate is taken out of action. The owner / landlord refuses to accept this advice and consequently the property is either rented out or sold with a hazardous gate - putting the new owner / tenant at risk.

In the absence of enforcement of the legislation making it mandatory to follow the appropriate guidance to deliver a safe gate, we can only rely on the power of communication to raise awareness of the significant potential hazards associated with gates that have been installed incorrectly and / or not undergone the required ongoing maintenance checks.

Estate agents, letting agents, inventory clerks and homeowners all have a moral duty to protect an individual from an unsafe gate. Gate Safe will continue to campaign to ensure this message is heard loud and clear …