Your guide to gas safety in private rented properties
Landlords and agents are required to undertake gas safety checks on an annual basis to ensure their properties are safe for tenants. Here's a guide to what you need to know.
The Gas Safety Register's latest research has highlighted that seven million homes in the UK could house an unsafe gas appliance - with the potential to cause carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires, and explosions.
Landlords and agents bear the responsibility of ensuring these appliances are safe with yearly checks - or face a fine or a potential custodial sentence - under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 in England, Scotland, and Wales.
The gas safety check
The government guidelines explain that landlords or their property managers need to use an engineer registered with Gas Safe to safely install and maintain all gas equipment in their properties and to do an annual gas safety check on each appliance.
This also applies to appliances, fittings, and flues in communal areas.
What should be checked?
The legislation applies to "permanent and portable gas appliances and flues", including those supplied by the landlord for the tenant's use.
However, if the tenant has their own gas appliance, the landlord or agent is only responsible for the pipes and associated installation - the tenant is responsible for the safety of their own appliances.
Tenants considering installing a gas appliance will need to notify their landlord or agent in advance and should ask for those appliances to be included in any future checks, at "reasonable cost".
How long should landlords keep a record of the check?
Once the appliances have been checked, the landlord or agent will receive a Gas Safety Certificate for their records, which they'll need to keep for at least two years.
They'll need to share the most recent version with tenants before they move into that property, or within 28 days of a check taking place mid-tenancy.
How should landlords or agents rectify any issues?
If any issues are highlighted when the equipment is checked, the landlord or agent will need to rectify the problem at the time the check takes place or take "prompt action" to correct any defect as quickly as possible.
Where this were to affect heating, the landlord or agent must provide an alternative heating solution.
If an appliance is suspected to be unsafe or dangerous to tenants, it should not be used until a solution has been found.
The record of the checks is a "living document" and so should be supplemented with any proof of the follow-up action taken.
Should a carbon monoxide alarm be provided?
Since October 2022, the rules around carbon monoxide alarms were amended to ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is provided in any room used as living accommodation and with a fix combustion appliance - but excluding gas cookers.
You can read more about this new legislation in our guide to the amended carbon monoxide and smoke alarm regulations.
What happens if the tenant doesn't allow access to complete the checks?
A record of all communication around the checks should be kept, to prove that the landlord or agent took "all reasonable steps to comply with the law".
The guidelines recommend writing to the tenant to let them know that it's a legal requirement, and give the tenant the opportunity to arrange a time for the inspector to complete the check.
The guidance also suggests including the details on how to arrange these checks in the tenancy agreement, to clarify what's involved.
This article is intended as a guide only. It is not exhaustive and does not constitute legal advice. For more information, please refer to hse.gov.uk.
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