How to comply with gas safety regulations and keep tenants safe
If any of the gas appliances in your buy-to-let property aren’t fitted properly or are poorly ventilated, they could cause your tenants some serious health issues, or even lead to their death. Not good for business. And it’s not like your tenants will have prior warning. The poisonous gas that is emitted by gas appliances – carbon monoxide – is invisible and odourless.
Because of the danger to tenants, the law says that it is the buy-to-let landlord’s responsibility to make sure that appliances are safe. In this article, you’ll learn exactly what this means.
What do the gas safety regulations cover?
All your gas appliances, the pipes to and from them, and flues from the appliances come under the scope of the law. At least once a year, you must have all these elements checked to ensure that they meet current standards and are safe. The meter also needs to be checked to ensure there are no gas leaks.
Who can carry out gas safety checks?
You cannot carry out this work yourself. It must be undertaken by a Gas Safe registered contractor. It’s your responsibility to ensure that the contractor’s registration is up to date. The contractor you use must also be qualified to work on the specific appliances being checked.
We can arrange and coordinate all this work for our landlord clients, removing a pile of pressure and making sure that deadlines are not missed.
How do you verify your appliances have been tested?
The law states that gas safety records must be given to your tenants and that these records must be provided within 28 days of the gas safety check. The contractor who did the test should keep a copy, as should the landlord and/or their investment property manager.
Any work that must be done on the appliance tested will be detailed on the gas safety record.
What we do when we gas safety check your property
When we manage a property for a landlord, we make sure that we let you know what your legal obligations are and what we will arrange for you.
Where our contract stipulates that we accept your responsibility for gas safety checks, we ensure that all gas safety checks are carried out when they should be by a registered Gas Safe engineer. We’ll take care of the entire process, and ensure that all paperwork is in order.
What is included on Gas Safe documentation?
The records that we keep include:
- The address of the property
- The gas appliances in the property and their location
- Inspection date
- Any defects detected
- Remedial actions taken
- The name and registration number of the Gas Safe registered engineer who carried out the work
If an appliance is considered unsafe when tested, the engineer will disconnect it and leave a warning notice.
Are checked appliances safe?
Here is where things become a little more complicated. Just because an appliance has been checked and passed as not unsafe does not mean it is safe! An appliance could fail minutes after it has been checked. The gas check simply states that the appliance has been checked and considered to be safe at the time it was checked.
Now, obviously, this could put you in a very precarious position. If harm is caused to a tenant because of an unsafe gas appliance, you could be held liable and prosecuted. The law recognises that appliances can go wrong through no fault of the landlord, property manager, or tenant. For example, a bird could build a nest over the ventilation outlet and cause carbon monoxide to enter the property.
With this in mind, the law requires landlords to ensure that carbon monoxide alarms are fitted in all rooms or areas where there is a gas appliance. These must be checked at the start of a tenancy, and then the responsibility for checking them is passed to the tenant. You can read more about your carbon monoxide alarms obligations in our article “How buy-to-let landlords can avoid being smoked with a £5,000 fine”.
The health and safety of your tenants must be your primary concern at all times. Landlords have many obligations under the law, and gas safety laws are designed to help you keep tenants safe. You cannot flout them, and if something should go wrong and a tenant is harmed you must be able to show that you have complied with the law. Ignorance of changes to the law will be no excuse, and not complying with gas safety regulations could get you a criminal record.
Our repair reporting system makes it easy for tenants to report repairs and ensures we are fully aware of the seriousness of the repair required. Our regular property inspections enable us to ask the tenants direct about their carbon monoxide alarms.
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