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Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is a landlord?

In relation to domestic gas under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (GS(IU)R 98), a landlord is anyone who rents out a property that they own under a lease that is shorter than 7 years or under a licence . Regardless of whether you are a landlord under GS(IU)R 98 you may be considered a landlord under other related legislation.

Landlords' duties apply to a wide range of 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 bed-sit accommodation, private households, bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels
-    rented holiday accommodation such as chalets, cottages, flats, caravans and narrow boats on inland waterways.

 

What are my duties as a landlord in relation to gas safety?

As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 deal with landlords’ duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants are safe.

 You are responsible for the maintenance and repair of flues,appliances and pipework which you own and have provided for your tenants use by a Gas Safe registered engineer . Although there is no prescribed time frame for these duties, good practice would be the demonstration of regular, annual maintenance checks and subsequent repairs.

You are also responsible for ensuring an annual gas safety check  is carried out  within 12 months of the installation of a new appliance or flue which you provide and annually thereafter  by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. You must keep a record of the safety check for 2 years and issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.

 

What are my duties as a letting/management agent in relation to gas safety?


Landlords who use agents to manage properties need to ensure that the management contract clearly specifies who is responsible for carrying out the maintenance and safety check duties, and keeping associated records. If the contract specifies that the agent has responsibility then the same duties under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 that apply to a landlord apply to you.

In this situation an agent must arrange maintenance by a Gas Safe registered engineer link to external website[4] for all pipework, appliances and flues, which the landlord owns and provides for the tenants use. You must also arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. You must keep a record of the safety check for 2 years and issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.

 

What should I do if I suspect that an appliance is unsafe?

It is illegal for anyone to use a gas appliance if they suspect it is unsafe. Turn the appliance off and do not touch it until it has been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer link to external website[5].

If you suspect there is a gas leak you should immediately do the following:

         Call National Grid's Gas Emergency Freephone number: 0800 111 999

         Open all the doors and windows

         Shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve (if you know where it is)

 
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Do I have to use a gas safe registered engineer to complete gas work?

Yes. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations state that landlords must only use a Gas Safe registered engineer link to external website[6] for maintenance and safety checks on gas equipment they own and provide for tenants use in domestic premises. HSE advises that you check that the Gas Safe registered engineer is competent to work in that specific area of gas. This is clearly marked on the back of the engineer's Gas Safe Register registration card link to external website[7].

 

Should I provide my tenants with a Carbon Monouxide (CO) alarm?

HSE strongly recommends the use of CO alarms as one useful precaution to give tenants advance warning of CO in the property. Importantly alarms should not be regarded as a replacement for regular maintenance and safety checks by a Gas Safe registered engineer link to external website[8]. CO alarms cost between 20-30 and can be purchased in most hardware shops. Before purchasing a CO alarm, always ensure it complies with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. CO alarms should be installed and maintained in line with the manufacturer's instructions.

 

What gas appliances do I have responsibilty for?

Any gas appliance that you own and provide for the tenant's use is included in your legal duties. If a tenant has their own gas appliance that you have not provided, then you have responsibilities for parts of the associated installation and pipework but not for the actual appliance.

There are some good practice measures that you could adopt with appliances that tenants own:

1.     Send a reminder to the tenant that their appliances should be serviced and checked for safety each year by a Gas Safe registered link to external website[9], and where possible, offer to include these (at reasonable cost) within gas safety maintenance undertaken on your behalf.

2.     At the start of the tenancy, advise the tenant of any flues or chimneys that are unsuitable for the installation of a gas appliance. You may also wish to consider regulating the installation of any appliance by a tenant through the conditions of the tenancy agreement.

3.     It is also recommended to include all flues (e.g. chimneys) connected to gas appliances within your landlord's gas safety check, even where they do not serve appliances provided by the landlord. This may also help to fulfil other legal duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

 

What checks should be done between tenancies?

You must visually check the property to see if the departing tenant has either removed appliances unsafely, or alternatively left behind their own appliance, which should either be removed or checked for safety by a Gas Safe registered engineer link to external website[10]. The opportunity should be taken to clarify appliance ownership prior to renting the property again.

If you suspect that an appliance could have been tampered with, or there is the possibility of vandalism while a property remains empty, then HSE recommends you arrange for another gas safety check to be completed by a Gas Safe registered engineer before giving access to new tenants.

Before you re-let the property you need to ensure that all appliances are safe and have an up to date landlord's gas safety record (a copy of which needs to be given to the new tenant); it is also good practice to arrange for the pipework to be inspected and tested for soundness.

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How far do I have to go if the tenant prevents access for gas safety check?

A landlord has to show that they took all reasonable steps to comply with the law. HSE recommends the following best practice in these circumstances and strongly advises that a record be kept of all correspondence with the tenants:

-          leave the tenant a notice stating that an attempt was made to complete the gas safety check and provide your contact details;

-          write to the tenant explaining that a safety check is a legal requirement and that it is for the tenants own safety. Give the tenant the opportunity to arrange their own appointment;

-          HSE inspectors will look for at least three attempts to complete the gas safety check, including the above suggestions; however the approach will need to be appropriate to each circumstance. It would ultimately be for a court to decide if the action taken was reasonable depending upon the individual circumstances.

-          It is a good idea to include arrangements for access in the tenancy agreement.

 

What should I do if my tenants heating and hot water has been turned off due to gas safety check  or maintenance ?

If a gas appliance has been switched off by a Gas Safe registered engineer it is because it is unsafe and should not be used. No matter how inconvenient the situation is for the tenant such action helps to ensure their safety. If a heating appliance has been disconnected then you must provide your tenant with emergency heating, for more information on this contact your local authority whilst arranging for appropriate remedial work by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

My tenant shares the property in return for ‘rent’ (sub-letting)


As the original landlord you are still responsible for gas safety checks. You cannot transfer this responsibility to your tenant who is sub-letting. If your property is wholly sub-let, your contract with your tenant must clearly allocate the responsibility for completing the gas safety check.

I have a family member staying rent-free in my home


Although a gas safety check is not required under the regulations, HSE strongly recommends that you maintain and service gas appliances as recommended by the manufacturer.

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I employ domestic staff, who live in my home.

You are classed as a landlord, so you need to arrange an annual gas safety check.

I have a lodger who pays me rent


You are classed as a landlord, so you need to arrange an annual gas safety check.


I allow students to stay with me for short periods, such as exchange trips


If a student stays with you for short periods and you are paid for things such as the students’ food, then you take on the duties of a landlord and must arrange for regular gas safety checks.


My property is empty


You must ensure that all appliances/flues are safe and have an up to date gas safety check record to be provided for the new tenants before they move in.


I own a shop and rent out the flat above


Domestic gas duties apply to the flat, so you must arrange an annual gas safety check.


How often do I need to arrange a gas safety check?


You must ensure that a gas safety check is done every year on each gas appliance/flue. Before any new lease starts, you must make sure that these checks have been done within one year before the start of the lease date.

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