Every landlord needs a gas safety certificate for every home he rents. This includes short-term rentals, as well as rented properties in standard rentals. Your gas safety certificate, officially known as the owner’s Gas Safety Record, is one of the owner’s most important requirements. It is vital to offer their tenants a safe living environment, and there are serious legal consequences (including substantial fines and custodial sentences) for homeowners who do not have one.
What is a gas safety certificate?
A gas safety certificate shows that all gas appliances on place, including the boiler, flue channels, gas fires and gas heaters, have been certified as safe in the last 12 months. They can only be issued by a certified gas safety engineer. Gas Safe technicians are qualified technicians who are in the Gas Safe register.
What happens if I don’t have gas appliances?
Even if there are no gas appliances on site, if there is a gas supply line, you still need a gas safety certificate. It is only exempt if there is no gas supply.
If your tenants bring their own gas appliances to the property, they are responsible for their safety, but you remain responsible for the safety of the gas supply.
How do I get a gas safety certificate?
Find a gas safety engineer on the Gas Safety Registry website. They inspect all your gas appliances and gas channels, register problems and do everything to make them safe. If they know for sure, they will sign and date their certificate. This costs £ 29 (plus the cost of all the work you need). If you have a gas contract, the costs of the certificate are usually included.
You must give your gas safety certificate to existing tenants within 28 days or to new tenants when they move.
What happens if I have a certificate and something still goes wrong?
A gas safety check only takes place once a year; there is always the possibility that devices become dangerous between checks. Make sure your tenants know what to look for, when to call and how to report a suspected gas leak.
It is also a good practice to install carbon monoxide detectors on your property. You do not have to do this by law unless you have a solid fuel burning device (such as a wood stove or open flame). But they can save lives if there is a gas leak in your property.
What happens if I don’t get a gas safety certificate?
The consequences are probably serious. According to the gas safety regulations, you (and your agent, if you have one) can be prosecuted and receive a fine of up to £ 6,000 and / or up to six months in prison. If a tenant dies as a result of a defective gas device that has not been checked, this may result in compensation for involuntary manslaughter.
This landlord in London received a 20-week suspended sentence and a fine of £ 4,000 for not performing checks and having unsafe devices. And this owner in Torquay received a 26-week suspended sentence for forging a gas safety certificate.
Even if you escape persecution, there are probably other consequences. If you do not have a gas safety certificate, you run the risk of invalidating your insurance and that means that you cannot use section 21 if you have to deport a tenant. In that case I would have to go through Section 8 in a more complex and restrictive way.
There is a current case where the lessor disputes the decision to refuse an expulsion from section 21 because he has not issued a gas safety certificate, but the best advice from the owner is to assume that expulsion from section 21 is not possible without a certificate There are movements to end exposures in section 21 and to facilitate exposures in section 8, but currently section 8 is a difficult route to take.
Gas safety certificates are cheap and easy to obtain, as long as you stay up to date on maintenance. To make it easier, you will receive a gas service contract. You are automatically reminded when you need to renew your certificate and your tenants are convinced that repairs will be done quickly. Consult our chapter on safety and regulation for more advice about your legal requirements as an owner.
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