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Landlords Understand your gas safety responsibilities and protect your tenants

The following is intended for Landlords of properties.

We are keen to highlight that, as set out below, Landlords are responsible for their properties and have a duty of care to their tenants. This means that Registered Gas Engineers are not accountable for Landlords’ Gas Safety Checks being in place or up to date.

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Landlord and tenants

COVID-19: Advice For Landlords And Tenants – Updated 30 March 2020

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has released new guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities. Section 3 of the document below guides property access and health and safety obligations concerning Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities

The advice includes:

  1. What does the current situation mean for repairs to my property?

  2. What about my legal obligations to provide regular gas and electrical safety inspections?

  3. What about the risk of catching the virus?

The MHCLG guidance and the following HSE-stated advice are aligned.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states:

“Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants. This is a legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, and to keep a record of each safety check. In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, e.g., refusal of access due to tenants self-isolating, or if you are unable to engage a registered gas engineer to carry out the work due to a shortage of available engineers, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. This will need to include records of communication with the tenant and details of your engineers attempts to gain access. You should seek to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are available. If you anticipate difficulties in gaining access as the COVID-19 situation progresses, you have the flexibility to carry out annual gas safety checks two months before the deadline date. Landlords can have the annual gas safety checks at their properties carried out any time from 10 to 12 calendar months after the previous check and still retain the original deadline date as if the check had been carried out exactly 12 months after the previous check. You are encouraged to arrange your annual gas safety checks as early as possible, as a contingency against tenants being in self-isolation for a period of 14 days (in line with current guidelines), or gas engineers being unavailable due to illness. The two-month period to carry out annual gas safety checks should provide adequate resilience in most situations. Current guidance from HM Government concurs that work can still be carried out in people’s homes where necessary, e.g., for reasons of safety, provided that the GOV.UK guidance on social distancing is followed. See ‘Advice for engineers’ for guidance for engineers and their employers regarding working in peoples’ homes.”

As a landlord, it’s up to you to ensure your tenants stay safe in the property you’re letting. Your legal duties apply to various accommodations occupied under lease or licence. These include:

  1. Residential premises are provided for rent by local authorities, housing associations, private sector landlords, cooperatives, and hostels.

  2. Rooms in a bedsit, private households, bed and breakfast, and hotels.

  3. Rented holiday accommodation includes chalets, cottages, flats, Airbnb properties, caravans and narrowboats on inland waterways.

What are your landlord's responsibilities for gas safety?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline your duties as a landlord to ensure all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues are safe and working efficiently. If you’re letting a property with gas appliances installed, you’ve got three primary legal responsibilities:

1. Gas safety checks

All gas appliances and flues must undergo an annual gas safety check - and always by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure your tenants' safety. Once this has been done, you’ll be given a Landlord Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety certificate with details of all the checks carried out. It can also be referred to as a CP12 certificate.

You can arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out from 10 to 12 months after the last examination without affecting the original check's expiration date. If it’s less than ten or more than 12 months after the previous inspection, you’ll have a new deadline date - 12 months from the most recent check.


Appliances owned by your tenants aren’t your responsibility - although it’s still up to you to ensure the safety of any connecting flues unless they’re solely connected to the tenants’ appliance.


2. Gas Safety Record

Following the annual gas safety check and receipt of your Landlord's Gas Safety Record, you’ll need to provide a record of this check to your tenants. By law, a copy of your Landlord's Gas Safety Record should be given to your current tenants within 28 days of the gas safety check - and for new tenants, you’ll need to provide this at the start of their tenancy.


For rental periods of less than 28 days, make sure you’ve displayed a copy of your record within the property. You’ll need to keep copies of this gas safety check record until two further checks have been carried out.


3. Maintenance

You’ll need to make sure that all gas pipework, appliances, chimneys and flues are kept in a safe condition. Check the gas appliances’ manufacturer guidelines to determine how often a service is recommended. If you haven’t access to these, we’d recommend an annual service - unless your Gas Safe registered engineer suggests otherwise.


Installation pipework isn’t covered by the annual gas safety check, but both we and the HSE recommend that when you request a safety check, you ask your Gas Safe registered engineer to:

  1. Test for tightness on the whole gas system, including installation pipework

  2. Visually examine the pipework (so far as is reasonably practicable)

There are no formal requirements for keeping maintenance records, but you’ll need to show that you have regularly maintained the pipework, appliances and flues and completed required repairs.

How much does a Landlord Gas Safety check cost?

The cost of your Landlord's Gas Safety check will depend on the Gas Safe registered business that carries out your annual gas safety check. We recommend getting at least three quotes from companies before arranging for the inspection to be carried out.


Additional information

It’s always a good idea to ensure your tenants know where and how to turn the gas off and what to do in a gas emergency. In Scotland, a private landlord must provide a carbon monoxide (CO) detector where there is a fixed combustion appliance, but this does not apply to machines solely used for cooking. A CO detector is required in Northern Ireland when a new or replacement combustion appliance is installed.

Lastly, ensure it’s always a gas-safe registered and qualified engineer carrying out gas work or a gas safety check. Landlords are legally required to ensure this is the case - and it’s the most essential step to ensuring your tenants’ safety.

Any issues?

We understand that some relationships between landlords and tenants can become problematic. The tenancy agreement should allow access for maintenance or safety checks, but if your tenant refuses to grant access, you must show you've taken all 'reasonable steps' to comply with the law. This includes repeating attempts to carry out the checks and writing to the tenant to explain that safety checks are a legal requirement for their safety. Record any action you take; you may need this later.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations don’t give powers to ‘force disconnection’ of the gas supply in these circumstances, and you may need to seek legal advice.

 

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