As a landlord you should be aware that you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. Your legal duties apply to a wide range of accommodation occupied under a lease or licence, including (but not limited to):
- Residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, housing associations, private sector landlords, 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.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline the duties of landlords to ensure gas appliances, fittings and chimneys/flues provided for tenants are safe.
If you let a property equipped with gas appliances, you have three main responsibilities under UK law:
- Maintenance: gas pipework, appliances and chimney/flues need to be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the frequency given in the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available, annual servicing is recommended unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Any gas appliances owned by tenants are not the landlord’s responsibility, however the connecting pipework and flue (if not solely connected to the tenant’s appliance) remains the responsibility of the landlord to maintain.
- Gas safety checks: gas appliances and flues must be safety checked annually by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. New regulations introduced in April 2018 allow a landlord to arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out any time from 10-12 calendar months after the previous check whilst still preserving the original check expiry date. Where a gas safety check is carried out less than 10 months or more than 12 months after the previous gas safety check this will have the effect of ‘resetting the clock’ and the new deadline date will now be 12 months from the date of this latest gas safety check. Landlords are not responsible for safety checks on gas appliances owned by the tenant or any flues that solely connects to tenants own gas appliances.
- Record: a record of the annual gas safety check should be provided to your existing tenants within 28 days of completion, or to new tenants upon the start of their tenancy. If the rental period is less than 28 days at a time you may display a copy of the record in a prominent position within the dwelling. You’ll need to keep copies of the record for at least 2 years. If you have benefited from the new regulations allowing flexibility in timing of gas safety checks, records must be kept until two further gas safety checks have been carried out.
Additional info: It’s a good idea to ensure that your tenants know where/how to turn the gas off and what to do in the event of a gas emergency. Last, but certainly not least, make sure anyone carrying out gas work on your property is Gas Safe registered and qualified to work on the type of gas and appliances provided – this is not only the law, but the most important step to ensuring the safety of your tenants.
Some landlord/tenant relationships can become problematic. The tenancy agreement should allow access for any maintenance or safety check work that needs to be carried out. However, if your tenant refuses to give you access to the property you must show that you’ve taken all ‘reasonable steps’ to comply with the law – such as repeating attempts to carry out the safety check and writing to the tenant explaining that a safety check is a legal requirement that is in place for their own safety. Be sure to keep a record of any action taken as you may need this at a later date. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations do not give powers to ‘force disconnection’ of the gas supply in these circumstances and you may need to seek legal advice.
Short term lets
If you let a property for a short period of time (e.g. a holiday home for a week) you still have gas safety duties as a landlord.