Obey Gas SafetyLaws Or Face Prosecution – Landlords Warned
UK Landlords need a better understanding of the many laws and regulations regarding the safety of tenants in private sector rental accommodation, or they may find that non compliance with any of the prescribed regulations can make them liable for prosecution and will render their Landlord Insurance invalid.
UK Landlords have moral and legal responsibilities regarding the safety of all tenants living in private rented sector (PRS) rental accommodation, occupied under a lease or licence, which includes, but not exclusively:
- Residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, housing associations, private sector landlords, housing co-operatives, hostels
- Rooms let in Houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s), private households, bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels
- Rented holiday accommodation such as chalets, cottages, flats, caravans and narrow boats on inland waterways.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outlines the landlords’ duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for use by tenants comply with all the latest UK safety regulations and are not hazardous to the health of the tenant.
A Landlord’s 3 main responsibilities when letting a property equipped with gas appliances:
Pipework, appliances and flues must be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
- Gas safety checks:
A 12 monthly gas safety check (CP12) must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue within the rented property. A gas safety check will make sure gas fittings and appliances are fit for purpose and safe to use.
- Record Keeping:
A copy of the annual gas safety check (CP12) must be provided to tenants within 28 days of the check being completed or must be provided to new tenants before they move in.
Landlords must keep copies of the gas safety record for two years.
All installation, maintenance and safety checks need to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
If a tenant provides their own gas appliance (eg. Free standing cooker), then you are responsible for the maintenance of the gas pipework that supplies the appliance, but not for the actual appliance and the tenant must ensure safety compliance for that item.
Landlords should also make sure that tenants know where and how to isolate the gas supply and what to do in the event of a gas emergency.
Landlords Have A Right To Access For Gas Safety
If tenants won’t allow landlords reasonable access to the rental property for the completion of Gas Safety inspections then dialogue needs to happen to bring about the tenant’s compliance to allow access for safety reasons. Tenants are not allowed to refuse access for saftey reasons and any problem regarding entering the property has to be justified.
The tenancy agreement (or rental contract) drawn up between the landlord and the tenant should allow access for all property repairs, routine maintenance and gas safety inspections to be carried out.
Even if the rental property is only tenanted for a short period of time, (e.g. holiday home), the landlord still has the same legal responsibilities for gas safety in the property.
It is the landlord’s responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure that gas safety work is carried out, providing the tenant with written notice of scheduled work in advance, requesting access, and explaining the reason.
Landlords should keep a record of any action, in case the tenant refuses access for any reason and this will allow the landlord to demonstrate to the HSE what steps have been taken towards compliance.
Compliance with UK legal and Health and Safety Executive requirements is a standard requirement for all Landlord, Buy To Let and Buildings insurance policies and copies of all official documentation may be requested by insurers.
Visit the HSE website for more information about landlords’ responsibility for gas safety.
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