COVID-19: Gas safety advice for landlords
UPDATE 23 March 2020
We are aware that the new restrictions announced by the UK Prime Minister on leaving your own home and avoidance of any social contact will reduce the ability for landlords to arrange annual safety checks. We are working with the HSE to provide new guidance specific to this 3-week period.
Landlords have a legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, and to keep a record of each safety check. If you anticipate difficulties in gaining access as the COVID-19 situation progresses, you have the flexibility to carry out annual gas safety checks two months before the deadline date. Landlords can have the annual gas safety checks at their properties carried out any time from 10 to 12 calendar months after the previous check and still retain the original deadline date as if the check had been carried out exactly 12 months after the previous check. You are encouraged to arrange your annual gas safety checks as early as possible, as a contingency against tenants being in self-isolation for a period of 14 days (in line with current guidelines), or gas engineers being unavailable due to illness. The two-month period to carry out annual gas safety checks should provide adequate resilience in most situations.In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, eg persistent refusal of access due to vulnerable tenants self-isolating, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. This will need to include records of communication with the tenant and details of your engineers attempts to gain access.
As a landlord, it’s up to you to make sure your tenants stay safe in the property you’re letting. Your legal duties apply to a wide range of accommodation occupied under lease or licence. These include:
What are your landlord responsibilities for gas safety?
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline your duties as a landlord to make sure all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues are safe and working efficiently. If you’re letting a property with gas appliances installed, you’ve got three main legal responsibilities:
1. Gas safety checks
To ensure your tenants’ safety, all gas appliances and flues need to undergo an annual gas safety check - and always by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Once this has been done, you’ll be given a Landlord Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety certificate with details of all the checks that were carried out. It can also be referred to as a CP12 certificate.
You can arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out any time from 10-12 months after the last check, without affecting the original check expiry date. If it’s less than 10 or more than 12 months after the last check, you’ll end up with a new deadline date - 12 months from the most recent check.
Appliances owned by your tenants aren’t your responsibility - although it’s still up to you to ensure the safety of any connecting flues, unless they’re solely connected to the tenants’ appliance.
2. Gas Safety Record
Following the annual gas safety check and receipt of your Landlord Gas Safety Record, you’ll need to provide a record of this check to your tenants. By law, a copy of your Landlord Gas Safety Record should be given to your current tenants within 28 days of the gas safety check - and for new tenants, you’ll need to provide this at the start of their tenancy.
For rental periods of less than 28 days, just make sure you’ve clearly displayed a copy of your record within the property. You’ll need to keep copies of this gas safety check record until a further two checks have been carried out..
You’ll need to make sure that all gas pipework, appliances, chimneys and flues are kept in safe condition. Check the gas appliances’ manufacturer guidelines to find out how often a service is recommended. If you haven’t got access to these, we’d recommend an annual service - unless your Gas Safe registered engineer suggests otherwise.
Installation pipework isn’t covered by the annual gas safety check, but both we and the HSE recommend that when you request a safety check, you ask your Gas Safe registered engineer to:
There are no formal requirements for you to keep maintenance records, but you’ll need to be able to show that you have regularly maintained the pipework, appliances and flues and completed required repairs.
How much does a Landlord Gas Safety check cost?
The cost of your Landlord Gas Safety check will depend on the Gas Safe registered business who carries out your annual gas safety check. We recommend getting at least three quotes from companies before arranging for the check to be carried out. You can find a registered business in your local area on our Check The Register page.
It’s always a good idea to ensure your tenants know where and how to turn the gas off and what to do in the event of a gas emergency.
In Scotland, a private landlord must provide a carbon monoxide (CO) detector where there is fixed combustion appliance, but this does not apply to appliances solely used for cooking. In Northern Ireland, a CO detector is required when a new or replacement combustion appliance is installed.
Last but not least, make sure it’s always a Gas Safe registered and qualified engineer that’s carrying out gas work or a gas safety check. Landlords are legally required to make sure this is the case - and it’s the most important step to ensuring your tenants’ safety.
We understand that some relationships between landlords and tenants can become problematic. The tenancy agreement should allow access for maintenance or safety checks, but if your tenant refuses to grant access you must show you've taken all 'reasonable steps' to comply with the law. This includes repeating attempts to carry out the checks and writing to the tenant to explaining that safety checks are a legal requirement in place for their own safety. Keep a record of any action you take; you may need this at a later date.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations don’t give powers to ‘force disconnection’ of the gas supply in these circumstances and you may need to seek legal advice.