Why Landlords must have a Gas Safety Certificate
As a UK landlord, there are various legislations and regulations that you need to follow at all times and a Gas Safety Certificate is part of these. If you fail to do this, then it puts you in a compromising position. With the laws surrounding landlords tightening by the year, it’s vital that you stay updated with all the essential information out there.
Amongst your many concerns, there’s often a lot of confusion over Gas Safety Certificates. Do all landlords need one? The short answer to this is yes, they do. But, why are they an essential requirement, and what happens if you don’t have one? Today’s blog will explore the gas safety certificate and explain everything you need to know about them.
Why Landlords must have one?
As a landlord, you must keep your tenants safe when they live in one of your properties. A large part of this revolves around ensuring that gas appliances are entirely safe and fit for use. This is something that’s been essential for landlords since 1998 when The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations were put in place.
Under this regulation, you’re responsible for three key things:
-Gas Safety Checks
With maintenance, it’s your job to ensure that all the gaswork in your properties are checked and maintained at all times. They must be working correctly and present no risks to the tenants at all. The frequency of these maintenance services will depend on the manufacturer’s guidelines. All maintenance must be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. If your tenants purchase their own gas appliances, then these aren’t your responsibility to maintain.
Gas Safety Checks are absolutely vital as they’re an annual occurrence for all landlords. Every single piece of gas equipment you own will have to be checked by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. There should never be more than a 12-month gap between these checks. When the checks are completed, you will be given a copy of your Gas Safety Certificate, which essentially proves that all the appliances and equipment are safe for use.
By records, this means you’re responsible for providing your tenants with any gas safety check records. After the checks are done, and you’ve got your Gas Safety Certificate, then you must supply the tenants with a copy – this needs to be done within 28 days of the completed checks. Any tenants that move into your property will also need one of these certificates as soon as they move in.
What we mean is…
Essentially, landlords need a Gas Safety Certificate to prove that all the gas appliances on your property are safe and have undergone a gas safety check from a registered engineer. This is shown to tenants, so they know that the building is safe, and any issues that arise aren’t your fault as you’ve got the certificates to prove everything was serviced and checked at regular intervals. These certificates last for 12 months, and you need a new one every year.
What happens if you don’t have a Gas Safety Certificate?
Having a Gas Safety Certificate comes under the duty of care that all landlords have towards their tenants. So, if you don’t have a valid certificate, then various penalties can be handed out to you.
Mostly, failure to give your tenants a copy of a Gas Safety Certificate is considered a criminal offence. As a result, you can get a fine of up to £6,000 or 6 months in prison. Furthermore, you may also be forced to undergo improvements to your property so that it complies with the regulations and is gas safe – which will cost even more money.
There are also cases in England where county courts have argued that you can’t hand out a Section 21 notice if you failed to show your Gas Safety Certificate when a tenant moved in. In essence, this means you’re not legally allowed to end the tenancy.
To summarise; every landlord in the UK has a duty to own a Gas Safety Certificate and give a copy to your tenants when they move in. What’s more, they must receive updated copies of this certificate within 28 days of it being issued.
Your Gas Safety Certificate is given to you after a registered engineer carries out safety checks on all the gas appliances in your property. It will last for 12 months, and it’s highly recommended you get the new gas safety check booked in for 10 months after the certificate is issued – so you avoid going over the deadline.
All of this is in accordance with The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations, and failure to comply with lead to substantial penalties!