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Landlords Guide to Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations
Posted by: Richard Firth on: 9 February 2021
Landlords have a range of responsibilities and obligations towards the law and their tenants.
This article looks at the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
These regulations were put in place owing to the dangers that come with using gas appliances. Carbon monoxide emissions, which are difficult to detect, are particularly dangerous when gas appliances are used. Clogged pipework and flues allow for the accumulation of CO, increasing the risk to your property. These risks call for proper gas checks to ensure these properties are up to code. These checks are carried out by registered safety engineers, who assess the gas-related risk factors and that your gas appliances are operating optimally.
The 1998 Gas Safety regulations for Installation and Use are intended for gas appliances and how they are to be installed, maintained and used. These laws apply to all properties utilising gas appliances, whether commercial or domestic. Its cover extends to leases that are essentially below seven years. It lists duties to be carried out by the landlords, concerning the installations on their property.
The landlord is expected to guarantee proper maintenance for flues and other gas fittings on the premises. Any gas appliance on the property is expected to be properly serviced according to the guidelines from the specific manufacturer. In the absence of such policy, landlords are obligated to do this on an annual basis. Only a registered gas safety engineer can prescribe an alternative course of action.
Landlords are expected to oversee safety checks annually for every gas fitting, appliance and flue on their property. This measure should be enforced at least one year before any new lease is done. Exceptions are only given if the appliances have no more than 12 months of use. Such appliances will be expected to undergo these checks when the 12 months elapse.
Once the safety check is done, landlords should maintain the documents from these checks. This documents will need to be availed at the next two safety checks. They are also expected to make these documented records available to their tenants within four weeks of the safety check. Landlords should also provide these records to new tenants before their moving into the property.
These regulations and the accompanying necessity for a safety check are relevant to any gas fittings or equipment on the property. This cover does not extend to any gas equipment that the tenant owns. Flues and emission pipework from a tenant-owned gas appliance are also excluded from this cover. All gas fittings, appliances and flues on the property, that are not owned by the tenants, including those not fitted to the tenants’ space but actively servicing them, are covered by this scope. Gas appliances in non-residential areas that only service places that are not residential are also excluded. This safety checks extend to portable and fixed gas appliances.
Tenants are only obligated to make use of safe gas appliances, those which pose no dangers. Therefore, the landlord cannot delegate their duties to their tenants. These obligations remain with the landlord and cannot be transferred to a managing agent. However, a clause in the management contract could assign the roles of organising safety checks, maintenance and the relevant record keeping.
For sub-let properties, the ‘prime’ landlord may still share the same obligations as the sub-letting landlord. The involved parties can allocate and share out roles to guarantee full completion of the shared legal duties. The resulting contract should have a principled focus on the safety of the tenants.
Landlords can notify their tenants of impending assessments and ask for admission within reasonable notice. If denied access, they should keep documentation of such actions for legal purposes. The landlord may not use the 1998 regulations or Gas Safety to gain entry to such property forcibly.
Engineers are expected to produce their active Identity Card upon request. This card should contain relevant details such as a personal license number, the engineer’s photo, a company name, business registration number, expiry date and a security feature, usually in the form of a hologram. Its back should display the engineer’s competencies. Landlords can validate this information by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800-408-5500 within working hours or visiting http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/. Landlords are advised to ask these engineers also to inspect the pipework and tightness of the entire system.
After a safety check, the record-keeping helps to document the noted defects on the property’s gas fitting and appliances. It will also elaborate on what measures were taken to remedy the mentioned defects. A landlord should promptly rectify the defects, this should be done before putting the appliance back in service.
Appliances deemed to be unsafe should not be reconnected, whatever the circumstances. They can only be put back to use after the necessary repairs are made.
The legal repercussions following prosecution may be a legal fine of up to £20 000, prison time up to 6 months or both. Referral of the case to the Crown Court could result in an unlimited fine, imprisonment or both.
Landlords can avoid these legal penalties by adhering to the recommended annual gas safety checks. Landlords must also keep records and documentation, usually in gas safety certificates and invoices. A registered Gas Safe Engineer should provide you with the correct documentation. These records should be readily available for a minimum period of 2 years. The contracts between a managing agent and the landlord should clearly outline each party’s roles, obligations and responsibilities. Understanding these liabilities will help you keep in line with the set regulations.
Carbon monoxide leaks are extremely dangerous and leaking gas has the potential to trigger an explosion in extreme circumstances. Carbon monoxide is undetectable, and exposure to its emissions can be fatal. If a gas leak is noticed, evacuate to a safe distance and contact the relevant emergency services. A registered Gas Safe engineer should be the only person allowed to do the follow-up repair work.
Amendments to the GSIUR include the increased flexibility on the timing requirements landlords face with their annual safety checks. This provision allows landlords to effect these checks up to two months before the inspection indicated due date. However, the records will show that this check as carried out on the specified due date. Legislators took this measure to get rid of the last minute hassle and the need to shorten the check cycle to be compliant with legislation. Another change lawfully allows for alternative means for safety checks where the meters for heat and operating pressure are inaccessible, not working or completely unavailable.
There is no specific cost for a gas safety check. These costs tend to vary depending on the company providing and from one region to the next.
Gas safety checks and maintenance services will typically take up 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the property and gas appliances that require testing.
Viva runs two gas safety awareness courses designed specifically for non-technical staff – landlords, estate agents and home helpers – working within the social housing sector or in residential premises (such as care homes).
Our gas safety management course is designed specifically for those who are in a managerial position working within the social housing sector, who have a responsibility for gas safety. Learners may also wish to take this course in order to prepare for further training or learning or for their own personal development.