One of the key landlord responsibilities in the UK is ensuring tenant safety from injury or harm caused by hazardous gas leaks from appliances and gas line pipes. Rental properties are covered by gas safety regulations as presented in the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. These regulations state that it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the safety of gas appliances, pipes and fittings, chimneys and flues within their rental houses, apartment units, or flats and rooms for rent.
If tenants in a residential or commercial rental property supply their own gas appliances, the landlord is only responsible for maintaining safe pipework for gas lines that supply gas to the premises and not for the safety of the appliances.
Landlords are also advised to inform tenants of the location of gas turn-off mechanisms and how to handle emergencies involving a gas leak. In addition, all engineers and repairmen performing work on such appliances and gas lines in rental properties must be Gas Safe registered.These measures ensure that tenants are protected against any possible harm from gas leaks.
Landlord Responsibilities for Gas Safety in Rental Properties
To ensure the wellbeing of tenants in their rental properties, the main gas safety responsibilities that landlords have include:
Basic Gas Maintenance
Any repair work needed on gas pipes, gas appliances or chimneys/flues should be conducted by professional Gas Safety registered engineers as frequently as recommended in the manufacturer’s user manual. If a manual cannot be located, a registered engineer should service the appliance every year.
Annual Gas Safety Checks
Annual gas safety checks are to be performed on every gas appliance, all gas piping, and each flue located in a rental unit to ensure their safety for use by tenants. These yearly checks for safe gas appliances, piping, and ventilation conditions are legal responsibilities of landlords in the UK.
Gas Safety Check Records
Tenants living in rental properties are to be provided with records of annual gas safety checks after these legally required inspections are performed. Tenants should receive these records within 28 days of the safety checks, and all new tenants should receive copies of these records at the beginning of their tenancy.
In the event that a rental period’s duration is less than 28 consecutive days, landlords may post a copy of the gas safety record in a common area of the dwelling where it can be easily seen. As a landlord, you must keep copies of these safety records for up to two years after the date of each gas safety inspection in rental buildings inhabited by tenants.
Electronic Gas Safety Records
Landlords are permitted to keep gas safety check records electronically as long as a hard copy can be produced when needed. However, all electronic files must be protected against loss or corruption so they can be produced in hard copy format quickly and efficiently as needed.
Electronic copies must also provide unique identification of the qualified inspector who performed the gas safety check, such as an electronic or scanned signature, an individual payroll ID number, etc. Landlords or qualified gas engineers, if agreed with the landlord, are permitted to send or give to the tenant a copy of the electronic safety check record as well.
Contracts concerning a gas appliance or flue located in a non-residential area of a rental property, such as in shops and common areas of buildings can also be agreed upon and signed by landlords and tenants. In this type of agreement, the tenants must agree to stop using any appliance that they deem to be unsafe. However, the landlord cannot attempt to shift the maintenance responsibility of communal appliances onto tenants under the guise of a maintenance agreement or insuring lease.
What Gas Appliances are Landlords Responsible For?
In general, any gas appliance that is located within a residential space must be kept in safe operating condition by the landlord, along with all connected fittings, flues, and gas pipes leading into the rental space.
These appliances may include:
- Stove-top cookers
- Small gas grills
- Portable gas heaters
Gas Appliances in Communal Areas
If one of your rental properties has a gas appliance and gas pipework located in an area of the building that is used by commercial lessees, this part of your property is not covered by the same regulations as gas appliances and piping in residential tenant spaces.
However, according to Section 4 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSW Act), in some instances, the landlord may be liable for providing safe conditions and operations of all gas-powered appliances and their connecting gas pipelines. These rulings are specified in the HSW Act related Regulations, such as Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
In areas of buildings not used as residential spaces, but which house equipment that serves domestic tenants, like central gas heating boilers, the tenant-related gas piping and fitting is deemed to be the responsibility of the landlord for upkeep and safety. In some instances, safety check records for this tenant-related equipment or appliance may be displayed nearby.
Gas Safety Regulations Applying to LPG Appliances
The same regulations for landlord liability apply to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) appliances as those applying to natural gas appliances. For LPG appliances owned by the landlord and located within domestic rental spaces in properties, any required maintenance procedures must be performed by a Gas Safety registered engineer. Yearly safety checks are also required by law for these appliances. Additional safety measures that should always be observed when LPG appliances are in use by tenants include the following:
All cabinet heaters placed in domestic rental properties must have good ventilation. These heating devices require plenty of fresh air circulation in order to burn and ventilate effectively and safely.
Atmosphere Sensory Device
Landlords need to make sure that all LPG heating appliances used in residential rental properties are equipped with an atmospheric sensing mechanism that will shut the appliance off if poor or potentially harmful air quality is detected.
Landlords are responsible for ensuring that the necessary type and size of gas bottle is used for any LPG heater used by a tenant of a building that they own, to protect the tenant’s safety.
Landlords must make their tenants aware of the fact that any heaters designed for outdoor usage must never be used indoors. This is an important aspect of ensuring tenant safety.
Gas appliances in the bedroom
Since 31 October 1998, a room that has been renovated for use as a bedroom must not contain gas appliances such as a gas space heater, a gas water heater, or a gas fire if any of these devices have more than 14 kilowatts of gross input, unless the gas appliance is room sealed. All gas appliances of this type must be equipped with an atmospheric sensory mechanism to ensure safety.
What to Do if Gas Appliances are Deemed Unsafe
If a landlord or tenant has suspicions that a gas appliance is not safe for use, it is always best to switch the appliance off and do not turn it back on until it has been fully checked and approved for use by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Using a gas appliance when you think it is unsafe is unlawful.
If you as landlord or one of your tenants suspects a gas leak in a rental unit, it is wise to take the following action:
- First, phone the National Grid Gas Emergency Freephone number, which is: 0800 111 999
- Open all rental unit windows and doors wide for ventilation
- If you can locate the gas meter control valve in the rental unit, shut off the gas supply completely as a safety precaution
Acceptable Landlord Actions If a Tenant Refuses Access for a Gas Safety Check
If you are the landlord of a building in which domestic tenants reside, and a tenant refuses access to their unit for a gas safety check, you must take responsible but lawful action.
Under these circumstances, the HSE recommendation is to first leave a written notification for the tenant advising them of your attempt to enter the premises to facilitate a gas safety check. Be sure to include your contact information.
You may follow up with a more detailed letter notifying the tenant that such safety inspections are required legally to ensure their safety. Encourage the tenant to schedule an appointment for a gas safety check. Inspectors from HSE ask that you make no less than three attempts to perform this safety check of the premises.
It is advisable to include satisfactory procedures for ensuring access for these gas safety checks in your tenant-landlord agreement to avoid the occurrence of problems with gaining access to rental units in your building for this purpose.
What to Do if an Annual Gas Safety Check Reveals Safety Hazards
Every record of a gas safety check is considered a “living document.” If defects or other types of safety hazards or issues are found during a gas safety inspection, the landlord should add to the record the documentation of any subsequent action taken to correct such defects or dangerous conditions in a rental unit. Each record pertaining to the results of these annual safety checks should be generated immediately following the completion of a check, particularly if any safety problems or defects are identified during the inspection. Delaying a gas safety check record after completion of an annual check due to needed repairs or adjustments to gas appliances, pipes, or fittings is not acceptable.
Hiring a Gas Safe Registered Engineer
If you’re planning on installing or carrying out maintenance work on gas appliances or infrastructure in your property, it is vital to the safety of your tenants to secure the services of a Gas Safe registered engineer.
How to Verify Gas Safe Engineer Qualifications
Every Gas Safety registered engineer is required to carry an ID card that indicates which appliances they are qualified to repair and service. Landlords and tenants should ask to see this ID card before permitting an engineer to perform any work on gas appliances, pipes, or fittings in a rental property. As long as an engineer has proper credentials and is approved to service your gas appliances and pipes, you can rely on receiving quality workmanship that is safe and efficient.
Gas Safe Registered Engineer Prices
Gas safety inspections can vary in cost, and the Gas Safe Register has no regulations concerning each registered engineer’s fees for a gas safety check performed in a rental dwelling or unit. It is a good idea for you to obtain price quotes from three different registered engineers before hiring an engineer for this job. You can also request references if you would like to know what types of buildings and dwellings an engineer has previously performed gas safety checks in.
Gas Safety Responsibilities of Block Management Companies
If the landlord of a rental building engages the services of a block management company to oversee the maintenance of communal areas, they ought to be certain that their contract with the managing agent stipulates who is responsible for gas safety maintenance procedures, for annual safety checks, and for keeping records of these checks.
Recommendations from HSE are that you state your need to view copies of all gas safety maintenance reports and safety check results from your block management company. This will supply you with the proof that upkeep has been performed as needed to ensure the safety of your tenants.
If your contract agreement with the managing agent states that management assumes the responsibility for maintenance, safety checks, and all resulting records in your rental property, the same requirements listed in the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 that landlords must abide by must be carried out by the block managing agent.
Block Property Management in Leeds and West Yorkshire
A block property management company can take some of the stresses and complexities out of gas safety responsibilities in residential buildings. Our management agents will ensure that all gas appliances and infrastructure is appropriately maintained, and any hazards are repaired in a timely manner. We’ll also stay on top of legal documentation and reports.
For more information about Valor’s block management service, get in touch with our friendly team today.