Gas Safety for Landlords
As a landlord, how can you ensure your home is safe for your tenants? We break down the Gas Safety rules in our latest guide.
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Skipping gas safety for renters is a tempting way for rogue landlords to save a few hundred pounds, but the consequences of ignoring the rules could be fatal. Carbon monoxide leaking from unsafe gas appliances is a silent killer that claims more than a hundred victims a year.
The poison gas is tasteless, doesn't smell and is invisible, which means many victims do not realise they have a problem until it's too late. Professionally installed and serviced boilers, fires and other appliances are perfectly safe, which is why landlords must carry out rigorous checks each year to maintain gas supplies and appliances.
Only a proportion of carbon monoxide (CO2) deaths are related to private rented homes, but even a handful of preventable deaths is too many.
Four gas safety rules for landlords
Landlords must ensure that their homes are safe from gas hazards before tenants move in and the entire time they live in a rented property.Gas safety rules break down into four main tasks:
- Have the gas supply, and any gas appliances serviced every 12 months by a registered Gas Safe engineer unless the appliances were installed less than a year before the date of first letting. If the appliances are less than a year old, they should have a service within 12 months of their installation date.
- Every room with a gas appliance should have a working carbon monoxide detector. Landlords must check the detector works when the tenant moves in. But, the tenant is responsible for regularly testing the detector and replacing the batteries if required.
- Give a valid copy of the gas safety report to the tenant within 28 days of the check or date of first letting
- Keep the gas certificates handy for inspection for two years or at least until two more gas safety checks are carried out
What's covered by a gas safety check?
You must order a gas safety check if you let out any residential property. These include buy to lets, student flats, houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), holiday lets and your own home if you take in lodgers.
The check covers LPG and portable appliances and their gas supplies. However, landlords are not required to safety check appliances owned by a tenant or flues and chimneys they are connected to if no appliances owned by a landlord are used by them.
Boilers, chimneys or flues outside the home that are part of the heating system are part of the safety check. For example, a boiler in an outhouse heating a block of flats or a shared home.
What does a gas certificate tell tenants?
A gas safety certificate is a technical document issued by Gas Safe, the official register of professional heating engineers. Only registered engineers can complete an official gas safety check. You can find a list of local gas engineers by name or postcode area by searching the site. The certificate lists:
- The name, contact details and Gas Safe registration of the engineer carrying out the test
- The property where the check was carried out
- The date of the check
- The result of the check for the gas supply and each appliance at the property
- A list of any defects and remedial action
The property owner is responsible for the check even if the home is sub-let or managed by a letting agent. If the gas safety check turns up any defects, the landlord must ensure the appliance is not used until repaired or replaced. Landlords must provide temporary replacements for heating appliances while any remedial work is underway.
Breaking the rules by employing an unregistered engineer or allowing a tenant to use defective gas appliances is an offence.
It is punishable by imprisonment or fines of up to £20,000 for each offence at the magistrates court.If the case is sentenced at crown court, the punishments are unlimited fines and jail terms.
How much does a gas safety check cost?
The price of a gas safety check varies between engineers. But, expect to pay between £100 and £200 for the safety inspection plus the cost of any remedial work.
Must a tenant allow a gas engineer to career out a safety check?
Landlords and their agents, including gas engineers, can only enter a tenant's home with permission. No forced entry is allowed. If the tenant does not allow the check, the Health & Safety Executive recommends the following action to show a landlord has taken reasonable steps to carry out the safety check:
- It's a good idea to write a clause into the rental agreement. One that explains how and why access is needed for repairs and maintenance.
- Leave the tenant a written notice taped to the front door explaining an attempt was made to complete the check. Also give the engineer's contact details.
- Write to the tenant explaining the check is a legal requirement, for their safety. Also ask that they make an appointment with the engineer.
- Keep a log of any contact with the tenant regarding the safety check. These details may be required by the HSE or a court.
Owning a property doesn't have to be stressful when things go wrong or your tenant is in need of an urgent repair. At Oasis living, we handle the property management side of things so you don't have to. Get in touch about your property today.
One of our letting experts will ensure you get the most value from your property