Gas safety checks are hugely important for rental properties, given the number of things that can go wrong if any part of the gas system does not meet the necessary standards. There are a number of responsibilities that landlords and lettings agents take on when they rent out a property, and as such it can be difficult to keep track of everything that must be done.
Here is an overview of the responsibilities concerning gas safety checks and how you can go about ensuring all the documentation is up to date and legal.
Landlords’ Responsibilities for Gas Safety Checks in Rental Properties
Landlord responsibilities when it comes to gas safety checks boil down to three main areas. They must maintain and repair appliances, pipework and flues, they need to make sure that every flue and appliance has an annual gas safety check and they are required to keep a record of these checks.
In general terms, landlords have a responsibility for all aspects of the safety of tenants, but there are specific regulations for gas safety laid down in The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Essentially, you need to look after any gas appliance, flue or pipework that is used by your tenants in any way. All work must be carried out by Gas Safe registered engineers and, although not required by law, it is advised that landlords keep records of all work performed and of regular maintenance checks in order to show that they have met this key responsibility.
Landlords must have a Gas Safe engineer perform yearly gas safety checks on all gas appliances. After installing a new appliance, this needs to be professionally checked within the first 12 months after installation. They should keep records of the checks for two years, issue a copy of the test to an existing tenant within 28 days and a copy to new tenants before they get hold of the keys to the rental property.
Lettings Agents’ Responsibilities for Gas Safety Checks in Rental Properties
Before they start working together, the landlord and letting agent should work out whether the letting agent will take on the gas safety check duties. If they do accept this role, this should be noted in the contract that both parties sign which then bestows all of the responsibilities from The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 upon the letting agent.
Right of Access for Gas Safety Checks
There should be a clause in the tenancy agreement that allows for the landlord to access the property to perform gas safety checks. However, that does not mean that they can force entry to the property if the tenant is not at home or refuses to communicate with them.
In the event that a landlord or lettings agent struggles to enter their property, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends they keep a detailed record of their attempts and correspondence with the tenant. Landlords are required by law to prove that they took all reasonable steps to perform the checks over multiple attempts (at least three), and it may be up to a court to decide whether they could have done any more if they are prosecuted for failing to make the checks on a regular basis.
HSE recommends writing to tenants and offering them a chance to book in an appointment for a gas safety check, underlining how important it is for their safety. In addition, after a failed attempt to access the property, landlords and lettings agents are advised to leave a note explaining why they needed entry and leaving contact details for the tenants to communicate with them at a convenient time.
Can a Landlord or Letting Agent Delegate Responsibilities to Tenants?
You cannot delegate responsibilities for the maintenance, repair and testing of gas appliances, flues and pipework to tenants in a purely residential property. The law is slightly different in properties where there are non-residential areas, such as pubs and shops. In these cases, the tenant can take responsibility for appliances in the non-residential parts of the building.
Tenants do have a responsibility not to use any gas appliance which they know is dangerous or in need of repair. If they do suspect any part of the gas system to be damaged, they should inform the letting agent or landlord immediately.
Checks Between Tenancies
Under Regulation 36(2), landlords or letting agents need to make maintenance checks between tenancies, in preparation for the new tenants coming in. All flues and appliances must have a current gas safety check record, a copy of which must be supplied to the new tenants before they move in.
If it is suspected the appliances may have been tampered with or the previous tenants might have left having removed the appliances in an incorrect manner, it is wise to have the system re-tested. If the previous tenants have left behind a gas appliance that you choose to keep in the property, that will need a check too.
Get Help With Gas Safety Checks
To ensure your gas safety checks are performed on time by the appropriate person, amongst a full package of other duties, you can outsource your property management to Executive Property Management Solutions.
Choose from two different property management packages designed to free you up to continue to grow your lettings business. Fill in the box below to contact us today or call 0208 5757630.