Understanding The Law For Gas Servicing In Rental Accommodation
As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. Landlords' duties apply to a wide range of accommodation, occupied under a lease or licence, which includes, but not exclusively:
- residential premises provided for rent by local authorities, housing associations, private sector landlords, housing co-operatives, hostels
- rooms let in bed-sit accommodation, private households, bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels
- rented holiday accommodation such as chalets, cottages, flats, caravans and narrow boats on inland waterways.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 deal with landlords’ duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants are safe.
If you let a property equipped with gas appliances you have three main responsibilities:
- Maintenance: pipework, appliances and flues must be 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 a Gas Safe registered engineer.
- Gas safety checks: a 12 monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue. A gas safety check will make sure gas fittings and appliances are safe to use.
- Record: a record of the annual gas safety check must be provided to your tenant within 28 days of the check being completed or to new tenants before they move in. Landlords must keep copies of the gas safety record for two years.
All installation, maintenance and safety checks need to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer
If a tenant has their own gas appliance that you have not provided, then you are responsible for the maintenance of the gas pipework but not for the actual appliance.
You should also make sure your tenants know where to turn off the gas and what to do in the event of a gas emergency
What if my tenant won't allow me access to the 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.
Visit the HSE website for more information about landlords' responsibility for gas safety
What if I'm only renting my property for a short period of time?
Even if a property is only rented for a short period of time, perhaps only a week as a holiday home, you are still a landlord and have specific duties for gas safety.
When is an EPC needed?
- Individual house/dwelling (i.e. a self contained property with its own kitchen/bathroom facilities) - one EPC for the dwelling.
- Self contained flats (i.e. each behind its own front door with its own kitchen/bathroom facilities) - one EPC per flat.
- Bedsits or room lets where there is a shared kitchen, toilet and/or bathroom) - no EPC is required currently.
- Shared flats/houses (e.g. a letting of a whole flat or house to students/young professionals etc) - one EPC for the whole house.
- Mixed self contained and non self contained accommodation - one EPC for each self contained flat/unit but no EPC for the remainder of the property.
- A room in a hall of residence or hostel - no EPC is required currently.
The requirement to make a copy of the EPC available to a prospective tenant does not apply where a landlord has reasonable ground to believe that a prospective tenant is:-
- Unlikely to have sufficient financial means to rent the dwelling
- Not genuinely interested in renting the dwelling of that particular type
- Not a person to whom the landlord would be likely to be prepared to rent out the property