Landlords are legally obliged to have all (fixed and mobile) gas appliances, as well as ventilation such as chimney flues, checked each year to ensure they are safe. If a managing agent is managing your property, be clear on whether they will organise this or if it is your responsibility. Still, if they are tasked with organising the checks, it’s your legal responsibility to ensure the checks have been made.
Gas appliance and ventilation checks should be made by a registered Gas Safe engineer. The Gas Safe register can be used to ensure they are registered, or call them on 0800 408 5500. Once the checks are completed, the engineer should provide a landlord’s annual safety certificate; a copy of which should be given to the tenant less than 28 days after the checks were made. A copy of the current certificate should also be given to new tenants prior to moving in. Make sure that tenants also have all the information needed about appliances in the property, for example instruction manuals.
Be aware that there are legal restrictions surrounding gas appliances like heaters placed in any room being used as a bedroom. If there are any such appliances in bedrooms, they should be considered for replacement or you should seek advice to ensure they are allowed.
You must provide a copy of the property’s Energy Performance Certificate to all new tenants and prospective tenants viewing the property. To get this, a registered energy assessor should be commissioned to inspect the property. Find a registered assessor through the Ministry of Housing’s official registry. They will check the property’s age, construction, layout, heating, insulation, lighting and other energy-related factors.
The Energy Performance Certificate rates the property’s energy efficiency, based on the cost of running the property’s electricity. It also gives an environmental impact rating based on how much carbon dioxide the property is deemed to release into the atmosphere. Ratings are given with a letter, from A to G in both cases. They may include recommendations on how to improve the property’s energy efficiency, like installing better insulation, but you’re not required to implement them. However, your tenant will have access to the certificate and may request that you act. There is sometimes financial assistance available for improvements. The Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance scheme, for example, may allow you to exempt up to £1,500 per property against income tax, if you spend it on some kinds of insulation. It’s worth investigating whether you qualify.
Getting an Energy Performance Certificate generally costs between £35 to £100 depending on the value, location and size of the property, and the supplier. Certificates are valid for ten years, regardless of how many tenants come and go in that time.
If you own several similar properties, you might be able to commission only one Energy Performance Certificate to cover all of them; but you will need advice on your options.