Moving house can be a very exciting time for many, especially those who are leaving their parents home for the first time. For others, it is an unfortunate consequence of the recession, with many renting their own home and moving to smaller properties. What both groups have in common is their haste, and this is what makes them vulnerable to landlords who do not comply with current UK gas safety legislation. Gas Safety Regulations put strict requirements on Landlords to ensure that the boiler and gas systems in rental properties are safe and well maintained on an annual basis. However, there is not the same level of requirement on Landlords to ensure that the electrics in a property are adequate and PAT testing is not a compulsory requirement unlike Gas Safety Inspections. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 provides that an electrical installation in a property is “Safe when a tenancy begins” and “Maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy”.
Gas safety services are a topmost priority for any business to flourish in view of the fact that all gas appliances must be serviced and certified every year by a company that is Gas Safe registered. As a landlord, when you lease a property that has gas appliances, you have a direct obligation to abide by gas safety rules. It is your legal responsibility to make sure that all the pipe work and appliances offered to the tenant are checked by a registered engineer every year and preserved in safe conditions. Records of such an inspection are to be handed over to the tenant before he moves in or within twenty eight days of his occupying your property. A landlord must remember to show him how to turn the gas supply off in case of a leak.
* Repair and maintain all gas appliances so that they stay in safe condition.
* Ensure that the contract with your tenant allows you to enter the property for any maintenance work or safety checks.
* Keep all records of correspondence with tenants. Communicate to him that an attempt has been made to check all gas appliances and the importance of conducting inspections. Give the tenant freedom to make such appointments at a time convenient to him or her.
* Servicing must be done according to manufacturer’s instructions or as per the gas engineer’s advice. * Prior to re-letting a property all appliances must be rechecked for safety and should have an up-to-date gas safety services record. Ask your engineer to check the pipe work when a tenant vacates your property.
* Records showing that all appliances have been correctly maintained must be kept.
* Damages caused by general wear and tear are to be repaired by the landlord. Duties of the tenant for damages caused by him or her should to be categorically mentioned in the tenancy agreement.
* If a landlord hires agents for property management the contract must clearly hold them responsible for all maintenance work. Agents will then need to contact gas safety services themselves for carrying out yearly safety checks and maintaining inspection records.
* A landlord should make sure that he seeks the services of a Gas Safe registered engineer for safety checks on his property. He should ensure that the engineer has the permit to work in his area. Landlord’s Duties: Gas safety services undertaken by landlords might include providing the tenants with carbon monoxide alarms but this should not be held as a replacement for regular safety checks. Such alarms must necessarily have a British or European approval stamp and are to be installed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
If a tenant installs his own gas appliance, the landlord may not be accountable for it but he is still responsible for the pipe work. He should ideally remind the tenant about annual maintenance practices and warn him if any chimneys are not suited for gas installations. Before the tenant leaves, a landlord has a duty to visually check to see if any appliances have been shifted in an unsafe way and if they have he must get them inspected by a gas engineer.