Gas safety is incredibly important. The laws surrounding it aim to prevent faulty appliances from leaking carbon monoxide, and potentially leading to fires or explosions within a property. This is made even more important by the fact that, as a landlord, the government places the responsibility onto you.
The law states that non-compliance carries:
- A penalty of £5000
- A 6-month sentence for each individual offence. Yes, each individual tenant in HMOs can claim which will add up if you have a portfolio of HMO properties.
- You could face a manslaughter charge if a tenant dies as a result of not having a Gas Safety Certificate with a “pass” or “safe” certification.
- Any insurance policies will then be invalid. Therefore, we propose that landlords with multiple properties should err on the side of caution and be extra vigilant as slip-ups could be costly. It is also necessary to have read through the certificate upon receipt from the contractor. This is in case they state that there is work needing to be done within the 28-day timescale. The property will then fail if the work isn’t complete.
For rental properties, the requirement is that a Gas Safe Registered Engineer will conduct a Gas Safety Certificate (GSC). The landlord will need to arrange this before the tenants move in. You can find a Gas Safe Registered Engineer here. All tenants must receive their own copy of the certificate (which states that the property has passed and is safe) before moving in. The Gas Safety Certificate will need an annual renewal every year thereafter. To avoid missing renewal, it is wise to create a reminder on your calendar. Or, use Stay Gas Safe’s handy reminder service which will send you an email or text when your renewal date is approaching.
The parties that need to keep hold of any records of gas works conducted/Gas Safety Certificates are:
- The contractor that carried the tests out
- Your agent (if applicable).
You should keep these safe and secure as you’ll require them in the future. You should also give any gas renewal certificates to tenants within a 28-day period.
However, there are exemptions to needing a renewal of Gas Safety Certificates. One is if the initial term of a tenancy is at least 7 years, with such tenancies not requiring renewals. The other is if the tenant seeks your permission and opts to bring their own gas appliance. This is tricky though and, in some ways, best avoided. This is because if the tenant plans to leave the appliance, it will automatically become the landlord’s responsibility, thus requiring a new Gas Safety Certificate.
Open-plan living may be “in”, but it makes Gas Safety a lot harder. A loft bedroom with stairs down to a living room housing a gas fire will technically be the same room. Therefore, it will need checking for safety. It is also worth bearing in mind that fires in any sleeping area must be under 14kW. So, keep this in mind when planning any refurbishment on properties to ensure the property will pass any Gas Safety Certificates and be deemed safe. It is also worth planning a 6-monthly inspection to check on the property to be up to date with each room’s use. This is especially relevant in older houses where landlords may convert front rooms with gas fires into bedrooms. This can result in the contractor conducting the annual test failing the property.
Remember, Gas Safety Certificates are required by law and so it’s imperative that landlords ensure they have one in place. Landlords can also be fined for not having an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). Read about the laws surrounding these in our blog post here.