Gas kills London landlord – why you need the gas safety certificate

Landlord responsibilities for gas safety

Utility bills are a cost that never seems to fall. For some unsuspecting landlords in London and elsewhere, their gas bill is enough to make them faint. In 2011, London landlord James Long had to pay £30,000. He hadn’t understood his landlord responsibilities for gas safety.

In one of his properties, the gas boiler installation and central heating gas installation hadn’t been inspected. Consequently, he didn’t have any of the landlord certificates he needed. He flouted the law and thought he could get away with it.

This one post will help you to avoid a similar fate. The next three minutes of reading could save you thousands of pounds.

What the law says about your landlord responsibilities

If the residential property you let to tenants is equipped with gas, you’ve got to jump through a couple of hoops and jump some hurdles to let legally. You must get your landlord gas certificates.

Whenever you have a new tenant, you should give them a copy of the gas safety certificate immediately. If you have appliances or installations serviced or checked, you’ll need to provide a copy within 28 days of service completion.

Every gas appliance and installation must be checked at least once a year, and you’ll need to keep copies of certificates for a minimum of two years.

Only gas engineers who are on the Gas Safe Register can provide certificates, carry out servicing, and make repairs to existing appliances. The Gas Safe Register replaced the old CORGI system of registration.

“But the tenant said they’d look after the gas appliances…”

Some landlords in London have tried to delegate their responsibility to have safety checks done. One of the common mistakes is to think that you can palm off the responsibility onto your tenant. It may be tempting to suggest to the tenant that they should arrange a boiler service; but if they don’t, and something goes wrong, you will be the one in court.

“But I use a property management company…”

If you use a property management company based in London or a national service such as Ezytrac, your contract can specify that the certificates, safety checks, and maintenance of central heating, cooker installation, and so on, are their responsibility.

The contract that was drawn up between you and the property management company should clearly state who holds these landlord responsibilities. It should also say who is going to arrange the safety check and certificate process.

As a property management company, we regularly arrange landlord gas certificates. Safety of your property and its tenants is at the top of our list of priorities.

We’ll use London-based Gas Safe registered engineers in the capital, and our network of local contacts and tradesmen across the country is virtually unrivalled.

“But the tenant owns the gas appliance…”

If the tenant owns an appliance that is connected to the property’s gas supply, you aren’t responsible for it. The tenant must get the necessary gas safety certificate. However, there are still some obligations that fall on your shoulders. These include:

  • reminding the tenant that the appliance must be serviced and checked every year. You could offer to include these checks in the tenancy (and, of course, charge for them); and
  • informing the tenant of any chimneys or flues that cannot be used for gas appliances.

Staying gas safe is hard work – we ease your pain

Ensuring you have the correct landlord gas safety certificates is hard work:

  • You need a diary of events.
  • You need to keep your paperwork for at least two years.
  • You’ll need to contact Gas Safe registered engineers to do installations, maintenance, repair, and inspection work.

With our network of local tradesmen across London and the rest of the country, we can negotiate preferential rates for all of this type of work. We ensure landlords are certified for gas safety when they need to be. You don’t have to spend hours on the phone or send endless emails back and forth.

Ensuring that you have the landlord gas safety certificates you need when you need them, is part of our service package. You’ll be able to sleep comfortably at night, as will your tenants.

Please feel free to contact us by phone +44 1522 503 717 for information about these services. Don’t become the next James Long because you forgot to call a gas engineer in time for your annual gas safety inspections.

Cheers,

Robert Smith

About the Author:

Arlene didn't start in property, she worked for the likes of Marks and Spencer, Harrods and her own consulting business in Food Technology. In 2009 she took over the chair of Ezytrac Property Group and has overseen its growth since then. Arlene conceived the famous 'Effortless Property' mantra and has been a big proponent of the constant push towards its achievement. Arlene is married to Brett, a fellow property expert and they have 4 kids.