Gas Safety Requirements Top The Priority List For Rental Properties

04 April 2013  |  I-Am-The-Agent  |  0 Comments

We are currently in the midst of a landlord’s market according to property analysts. With the current economy still in a state of unbalance, the number of people who are having to rent rather than buy, sell and rent or rent out their own property to supplement income has increased drastically in recent years. The number of landlords in the UK is hitting ever higher levels and with the availability of self-service letting agents and online portals on the rise, it is now easier than ever to make the leap from homeowner to landlord.

For those at the start of their tenure as landlord, there are a multitude of requirements, guidelines, legislations and regulations to get to grips with. With health and safety taking precedence, gas safety requirements are a logical place to start. The Gas Safe Register splits landlord responsibilities in this area into three parts;

• Maintenance: recommended annual servicing if no appliance service schedule is provided by the manufacturer

• Gas Safety Checks: An annual safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance and flue

• Record: A log of the 12 month gas safety checks should be provided to the tenant within 28 days of them moving in to the property

Regardless of its size or designation as house, flat, bed sit, caravan, chalet or cottage, all rental properties must comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. These stipulate that landlords are responsible for the maintenance and repair of all appliances, flues and pipework provided for tenant use. Gas boilers are of a particular concern and must be approved by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

A landlord must have all gas appliances within the property serviced regularly (usually ever 12 months) by a Gas Safety certified engineers. Upon completion of the check a Gas Safety record will be provided by the engineer. Whenever a Gas Safety engineer has been called in to service or fit a new gas appliance, a safety record will be provided. Depending on the work that was done by the engineer, this safety record may be called a Gas Safety certificate.

If a tenant supplies his or her own gas appliance, which was not in the initial inventory of the property, the landlord’s responsibility falls only with the installation and the pipework related to the appliances provided by the landlord. Safety checks cannot be lawfully enforced on the tenant for appliances provided by them, but many landlords choose to issue reminders to their tenants for their appliances to be serviced on a yearly basis. Some landlords also opt to include the costs of any extra checks for appliances not provided by them as part of  their  annual safety maintenance  undertaken by themselves. Better to be safe than sorry in case of fire, injury or even death due to such appliances.

In between tenancies, there are a number of recommended checks which need to be carried out to verify the safety credentials of the gas appliances in the house. One is a basic check, to confirm that no appliances have been removed in an unsafe manner, and that no appliances have been replaced, modified or removed entirely. If a landlord suspects that an appliance has been damaged or tampered with, or if an appliance needs to be replaced, a Gas Safe registered engineer must perform a safety check before any new tenants move in.

Not conducting required and regular gas safety checks in compliance with the 1998 legislation could see landlords liable should there be a fire or injury caused as a result of faulty equipment. A clause should be included in the tenancy agreement that allows the landlord access to the property for the purpose of safety checks. The burden of taking all reasonable steps to ensure the safety work is carried out rests with the landlord – this can include sending a written request with a suggested time and outlining the reasons for the visit to tenants. Should the tenant refuse access, a written log should be maintained, outlining times, dates and reasons.

A property management service can relieve some of this workload by ensuring that all relevant paperwork is up to date, checks performed and the rental agreement adhered to.