AA Legal Documents

Gas safety

Contents

The gas safety regulations specifically deal with the installation, maintenance and use of gas appliances, fittings and flues in domestic and certain commercial premises. They place duties on landlords to ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants' use are safe.

What type of property is covered?

The duties generally apply to appliances and flues provided for tenants' use in 'relevant premises', that is those occupied for residential purposes under either a licence, a tenancy agreement for a set term, or a lease as defined in the regulations. Essentially any lease under 7 years is covered. The Health and Safety Executive, with support from the National Landlords Association, has launched a one-stop-shop gas safety website for landlords to help them understand what they should be doing to keep tenants safe in any properties they let.

Click here for the site.

The website also includes a link to the Gas Safe Register.

What are my main duties as a landlord?

You are required to:

  • Ensure gas fittings and flues are maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If these are not available it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by an engineer registered with Gas Safe Register
  • Ensure an annual safety check is carried out on each gas appliance/flue. Before any new lease starts, you must make sure that these checks have been carried out within one year before the start of the lease date, unless the appliances in the property have been installed for less than 12 months, in which case, they should be checked within 12 months of their installation date
  • Have all installation, maintenance and safety checks carried out by a gas engineer registered with Gas Safe Register
  • Keep a record of each safety check for at least 2 years
  • Issue a copy of the latest safety check record to existing tenants within 28 days of the check being completed, or to any new tenant before they move in (in certain cases there is an option to display the record). The regulations specify the gas safety matters to be covered. You should not assume that an annual service inspection meets the safety check requirement, or that a safety check will, on its own, be sufficient to provide effective maintenance. Ask the advice of a registered gas engineer where necessary.

Which gas equipment is covered?

The safety check and maintenance requirements generally apply to any gas appliance or flue installed in the 'relevant premises' except that:

  • Appliances owned by the tenant are not covered
  • Flues/chimneys solely connected to an appliance owned by the tenant are not covered
  • Any appliances and flues serving 'relevant premises' (such as central heating boilers not installed in tenants' accommodation, but used to heat them) are covered

The safety check does not apply to any gas appliance (such as gas fires provided for customers in non-residential areas of public houses) that is exclusively used in a part of premises occupied for non-residential purposes.

Your duty to maintain and carry out safety checks applies to fixed as well as portable appliances, such as LPG cabinet heaters.

Can I delegate duties to a tenant?

No, except that a contract may be drawn up between a landlord or tenant for an appliance or flue installed in a non-residential part of a premises, for example, shops and public houses etc. Your tenant has a duty not to use an appliance they believe to be dangerous.

What happens if I use a managing agent?

The landlord retains overall responsibility for ensuring compliance with requirements. The management contract should clearly identify who is to make arrangements for maintenance and safety checks to be carried out and to keep records.

What if the property is sub-let?

In these situations the 'original' landlord may retain duties which overlap with those acquired by the person who sub-lets. In such cases, close co-operation and clear allocation of duties is essential to ensure that legal duties are fully met, and that the terms of the contract properly safeguard tenants' safety.

What action is required to gain access to property?

The contract you draw up with the tenant should allow you access for any maintenance or safety check work to be carried out. You have to take 'all reasonable steps' to ensure this work is carried out, and this may involve giving written notice to a tenant requesting access, and explaining the reason. Keep a record of any action, in case a tenant refuses access and you have to demonstrate what steps have been taken. If a tenant continues to refuse access after repeated contacts, you may need to consider proper action through the courts under the terms of the tenants' contract. However, do not use force to gain entry into the property.

How do I know whether the gas engineer is registered?

The engineer should be registered with the Gas Safe Register and should carry an ID card which will contain a unique licence number and what they are qualified to do. You should always ask to see ID.

Contact details

Gas Safe

Visit the Gas Safe website, where you will be able to find businesses which are registered with Gas Safe and also to check your engineer. Alternatively, you can call 0800 408 5500.

What if an appliance fails the safety check?

The safety check record will contain details of any defect identified and remedial action taken. You must ensure that any safety defect is rectified before the equipment is used again. It is recommended that you keep copies of work done to rectify defects identified by the safety check.

It is an offence to use, or allow the use of, a gas appliance you know to be unsafe. In no circumstances should you reconnect an appliance which has been isolated or disconnected for safety reasons, until the fault has been rectified.

What happens if I don't maintain my tenant's gas appliances?

Failure to do so may result in loss of life. You risk being prosecuted, and this could result in you facing a maximum penalty of £5,000 for each offence. If the case is then referred to the Crown Court (or the Sheriff Court in Scotland) the maximum penalty may be an unlimited fine and the possibility of imprisonment.

What action do I take in the event of a gas escape?

If you smell gas, or suspect there is a gas escape, you should immediately do the following:

  • Open all doors and windows.
  • Shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve (if you know where it is). If gas continues to escape, call Transco on the Gas Emergency Freephone Number 0800 111 999 or in Northern Ireland phone Phoenix Gas's emergency helpline 0800 002 001.
  • In the case of suspected carbon monoxide leakage, follow the above procedure, except if you are able to identify the specific appliance at fault. In this case you should consult a registered engineer to investigate and make repairs.

If you provide liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for use by a tenant in premises other than a building, e.g. a caravan or holiday home, you must discuss emergency arrangements with your LPG supplier and agree what action to take in case of a gas escape or emission of carbon monoxide from any LPG appliance.