By Martin Moore MIRPM MARLA
One question that new landlords ask us is why they need a Landlords Gas Safety Certificate when their gas boiler has only recently been serviced under their existing service contact.
As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 deal with landlords’ duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants are safe.
You are also responsible for ensuring an annual gas safety check is carried out annually by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. You must keep a record of the safety check for 2 years and issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and, issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in. We recommend a signature is obtained from the tenants to acknowledge receipt.
Technically, the legislation says that you do not require a Gas Safety Certificate until one year after a brand new installation but, to avoid any risk of accidental breaches of regulations, it is probable worth getting one even on a brand new appliance.
The inspection carried out is more detailed than a standard appliance service, in addition to the operation of the appliance all the supply pipework, meter and flue system is checked. If a fault is found the engineer will disconnect to appliance immediately to prevent use until satisfactory repairs have been made.
If you break the regulations you are putting lives at risk and the HSE has powers to impose large fines and / or imprisonment.
We recent saw a good example of why gas safety checks are important. One of our Gas safe engineers attended a property which had not been tenanted before. It is a family occupied home of recent construction and the heating system maintained under a service contract. On inspection he found he could not check the flue as it has hidden behind boxing and no inspection hatches were provided, as checking the flue is a necessary part of the safety check he asked for the boxing to be removed. It revealed a defective installation which was leaking flue gases into a bathroom. The repair was simple and the flue is now safe with hatches for future checks but, the consequences could have been fatal had the fault not be found.
This case is especially significant as the property is quite new and the installation was not suspect.