All landlords need to ensure a gas safety certificate is obtained in relation to any relevant appliance or gas fitting. This is not new law.
What is new from 1st October 2015 however is that landlords must comply with the requirement before they are able to obtain possession of a property. This is another aspect of the recent changes that will make the recovery of possession potentially even more excruciatingly time consuming and complex for landlords.
Regulation 36, The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 covers the requirements for landlords. The obligations are fairly obvious – to ensure the maintenance and safe condition of any relevant gas fitting and any flue which served any relevant gas fitting. The purpose is to prevent the risk of injury.
The specific requirement is for 12 monthly checks of appliances and flues and to ensure that records are maintained for at least 2 years. The record needs to include: the date of the check, the name and address of the landlord or agent where the appliance or flue is installed, a description of the location of the appliance and flue, any defect, any remedial action required, confirmation that the check complies with regulation 26 (which deals with safety precautions of gas appliances and installations), the name and signature of the person carrying out the check and the registration number of that individual or employer confirming they comply with regulation 3 (which basically means that that person is properly qualified and registered).
A copy of the record of inspection must be given to each existing tenant of the premises within 28 days although there is a potential alternative where it can be displayed in a prominent position in the property.
The good news is that gas safety is not a new requirement. Most landlords and agents are of these requirements as they are not in principle, new. Plumbers and gas safe engineers are aware of the regulations and can provide the service for a relatively modest fee. There will therefore be no new or additional ‘cost’ to landlords given these have already been required for some time.
However, the key change from 1 October 2015 is that a record (i.e. evidence) of the certificate having been given to the tenant needs to also be available before a valid notice seeking possession can be served on the tenant. Where the gas certificate hasn’t been obtained and provided to the tenant it will delay and possibly even prevent a landlord obtaining possession of their property.
– Ensure gas safety certificates are obtained for all properties.
– Retain gas safety check records for two years.
– Serve certificates on all tenants and retain evidence that they have been received by each tenant.
12 October 2015
Alex Cook is a Director at Helix. Alex initially trained academically as a barrister and was a Partner and Head of Civil Litigation at a large firm based in the South East before joining Helix Law. As well as focussing on expanding Helix, Alex specialises in commercial and property related litigation and he has acted for a broad range of clients including offshore property investment funds, small businesses and individual property owners.
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This article is written to raise awareness of the issues it discusses and it may not be updated after it is first written, even if the law changes. It is not intended to be legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. Helix Law is not responsible or liable for any action taken or not taken as a result of this article. If you think the matters set out affect you and you wish to apply them to your particular circumstances then we are happy to give you free initial telephone advice.