The Importance of Gas Safety Checks

Recently, in Edgware, north London, there was a horrifying incident involving a carbon monoxide leak in a residential home. Two middle-age men died and five other people, including two children, were taken to hospital for treatment.

The devastation this caused friends and relatives is immeasurable and the investigation to come will determine if a carbon monoxide leak led to the two deaths.

If this is the case the landlord of the property will come under heavy scrutiny and it serves as a strong reminder of the responsibilities landlords have towards ensuring their properties receive annual gas safety checks.

This is also particularly timely given the introduction of new gas safety rules from April 6th 2018.

What are the new rules?

An annual gas safety check can now be carried out as early as two months before it is due while still retaining the current expiry date. What this means is landlords can avoid penalties for arranging inspections ahead of time. This also gives landlords a greater level of flexibility to plan and schedule in an appointment if gas inspectors are unavailable nearer the end of the 12 month cycle.

A duty of care

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 detail how landlords must ensure all gas fittings, appliances and chimneys/flues provided in a rental property are safe. While your tenants are living in your accommodation your three main responsibilities include:

  • Maintenance: This means ensuring all gas pipework, chimney/flues and appliances are kept in a safe condition. Any gas appliances provided with the property should be maintained as per the manufacturer’s instructions, or annually if these are not available. Any gas appliances that are owned by tenants are not the responsibility of the landlord, while the connecting pipework is.
  • Gas safety checks: Flues and gas appliances – such as a gas cooker – must be safety checked every 12 months by a qualified gas engineer. The new rules mean this can now be carried out in the 10th month of the annual cycle which will still enable them to retain the existing expiry date. If a gas safety check is not done on an annual basis, new laws regarding Section 21 notices will make it difficult for them to be legally binding. As with maintenance, landlords are not responsible for ensuring gas appliances owned by the tenant are safety checked.
  • Record: Once completed, you must supply the current tenants with a copy of the annual gas safety check within a period of 28 days. For any rentals that are shorter than 28 days, a copy can be prominently displayed within the property in that time period. New tenants should receive a copy of the gas safety record before they move into the property. For assured shorthold tenancies, this will also ensure that Section 21s can be served successfully.

If you are unsure about the full legal requirements regarding gas safety and maintenance please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.