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Gas safety - Tenants

Who is a tenant?

In relation to domestic gas under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (GSIUR 98), a tenant is anyone who occupies a property under a lease that is shorter than 7 years or under a licence. Regardless of whether GSIUR 98 applies you may be considered a tenant under other related legislation.

What duties does my landlord have in relation to gas safety?

Your landlord has duties under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to arrange maintenance by a Gas Safe registered engineer for all pipe work, appliances and flues, which they own and have provided for your use.

Your landlord must also arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. They must keep a record of the safety check for 2 years and issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.

Is a landlord able to access a property for safety checks?

The contract with the landlord or letting agent should allow access for any maintenance or safety check work that needs to be done. However, force is not to be used to to enter the property. Further information is provided in regulation 39 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

A landlord has to show that they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law. HSE recommends the following actions and strongly advises that a record be kept of all correspondence with the tenants:

  • Leave the tenant a notice stating that an attempt was made to complete the gas safety check and provide their contact details.
  • Write to the tenant explaining that a safety check is a legal requirement and that it is for the tenant’s own safety. Give the tenant the opportunity to arrange their own appointment.
  • HSE inspectors will look for repeated attempts to complete the gas safety check, including the above suggestions; however the approach will need to be appropriate to each circumstance. It would ultimately be for a court to decide if the action taken was reasonable depending upon the individual circumstances.

Who is responsible for gas safety duties if my landlord uses an agent?

If your landlord uses an agent, the contract between them needs to clearly specify who is responsible for carrying out the maintenance and safety check duties, and keeping associated records. If the contract specifies that the agent has responsibility then the same duties under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 that apply to a landlord apply to the agent.

In this situation an agent must arrange maintenance by a Gas Safe registered engineer for all pipework, appliances and flues, which the landlord owns and provides for the tenants use. They must also arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer. They must keep a record of the safety check for 2 years and issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.

What can I do if my landlord won't provide me with a record of the safety check?

Remind your landlord of their legal duties under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to keep a record of the safety check for 2 years. They must also issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenant before they move in.

You may wish to write to your landlord requesting sight of the safety check record (see below specimen letter). If they still refuse to provide you with a copy you can make a complaint to HSE via form LGSR1 form LGSR1.

Specimen letter requesting a gas safety check or sight of the safety check record:

(Your address)
(Landlord's name)
(Landlord's address)
(date)

Dear (Landlord's name)

RE: (Address of Property being let)

As you are aware, the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 place duties on landlords. One of those duties is making sure that gas appliances and flues they own in the property which they let, are maintained in good order and checked for safety at least every twelve months. Landlords must also keep a record of the safety checks and issue these to their tenants.

Unfortunately to date, I have not been shown a copy of the safety check record carried out at the above property, which I now rent. Therefore I would be grateful if you could show me a copy of the safety check record for the above property within the next 10 days.

Yours sincerely

(Your name)

How do I complain if I don't have a current gas safety record (previously referred to as a certificate)?

By law landlords must carry out an annual gas safety check and provide tenants with a copy of the record of that check. New tenants should receive a copy before they move in and existing tenants should get a copy within 28 days of the annual check being done you don't have a current gas safety record you can report to HSE via form LGSR1.

Can my landlord keep the Landlord's gas safety record electronically?

Yes. So long as the electronic copy:

  • is capable of being reproduced in hard copy format when required (e.g. for the tenant/HSE/housing department)
  • is secure from loss and interference
  • uniquely identifies the gas operative who carried out the safety check, eg an electronic signature, a scanned signature, a payroll number unique to the operative, the name of the operative etc. The employer needs to have secure systems that link the individual operative to the unique identifier

A landlord, or gas engineer with the landlord's agreement, may send or give a copy of the electronic record directly to you, providing you are happy with this arrangement and have the ability to access it.

What if the annual check and record show defects?

The gas safety check record is a record of the results of the checks carried out for the annual gas safety check. It should be issued on completion of the checks and not delayed even if concerns are found and or until necessary remedial action has been taken.

The record is a ‘living document’ and landlords should supplement it with records of any follow up action taken (if required). This would provide a full record of the gas safety within the property.

What if there is a lifelong lease in place?

If your lease is for longer than seven years and is for life, the landlord is not responsible for gas safety checks and maintenance. But if there is an implied tenancy arrangement, such as accommodation is provided as part of a job (eg vicar, publican), landlords should continue to carry out their duties for maintenance and gas safety checks.

What if my property is ‘sublet’?

As the original landlord you are still responsible for gas safety checks. You cannot transfer this responsibility to your tenant who is subletting. If your property is wholly sublet, your contract with your tenant must clearly allocate the responsibility for completing the gas safety check.

In the case of sublet accommodation, the ‘original’ landlord may retain duties which overlap with those acquired by the person who sublets. In these cases, dutyholders need to take effective steps (eg by close co-operation, and clear allocation of responsibilities under contractual arrangements) to ensure requirements are fully met.

However, licensors (ie ‘subletters’) of premises who are themselves tenants of those premises are not regarded as landlords in this context and do not have obligations under regulation 36. This means that a tenant allowing others to share accommodation in return for ‘rent’ does not acquire duties under the regulation; these remain with their landlord.

Should my landlord provide me with a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm?

HSE strongly recommends the use of CO alarms as one useful precaution to give advance warning of CO in the property. Importantly alarms should not be regarded as a replacement for regular maintenance and safety checks by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

CO alarms cost from £15 and can be purchased in most hardware shops. If your landlord has not provided you with a CO alarm then HSE strongly recommends you invest in one yourself. They are portable and so can be taken to any future properties with you. Before purchasing a CO alarm, always ensure it complies with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. CO alarms should be installed and maintained in line with the manufacturer's instructions.

Does my landlord have to use a Gas Safe registered engineer to complete the gas work?

Yes. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations state that landlords must only use a Gas Safe registered engineer for maintenance and safety checks on gas equipment they own and provide for tenants use in domestic premises.

HSE advises that you check that the Gas Safe registered engineer is competent to work in that specific area of gas. This is clearly marked on the back of the engineer's Gas Safe Register registration card. If in any doubt, you can ring Gas Safe Register or check their website to see if the engineer is registered.

Do I need to use a Gas Safe registered engineer to move a bayonet fitting cooker?

Free-standing cookers connected by a flexible connector (bayonet fitting) are not considered to be ‘readily movable’, but can be moved, temporarily, eg to clean the space they normally occupy; this type of activity is not regarded as ‘work’ within the meaning of these Regulations.

Any other type of installation/reinstallation is regarded as gas work and must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Does my landlord have any responsibilities for gas appliances that I own and have provided for my own use?

If you have provided an appliance for your own use then you are responsible to arrange its maintenance by a Gas Safe registered engineer . Your landlord does still have responsibilities for parts of the installation and pipework.

There are some measures that you could adopt for appliances that you own:

  • Always notify your landlord well in advance if you are considering arranging for gas appliances to be installed/ replaced.
  • Approach your landlord and ask for your appliance to be included (at reasonable cost) within the gas safety maintenance/check they arrange with a Gas Safe registered engineer
  • At the start of the tenancy check with your landlord if there are any flues or chimneys that are unsuitable for the installation of a gas appliance.

What should I do if my heating and hot water has been switched off due to a gas safety check or maintenance?

If a gas appliance has been switched off by a Gas Safe registered engineer it is because it was unsafe and should not be used. No matter how inconvenient the situation is such action helps to ensure your safety. If a heating appliance has been disconnected then your landlord must provide you with emergency heating, for more information on this contact your local authority whilst arranging for appropriate remedial work by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Can I use a room containing a gas appliance as a bedroom?

Since 31 October 1998, any room converted to use as sleeping accommodation should not contain the following types of gas appliances:

  • a gas fire, gas space heater or a gas water heater (including a gas boiler) over 14 kilowatts gross input unless it is room sealed
  • a gas fire, gas space heater, or a gas water heater (including a gas boiler) of 14 kilowatts gross input or less or any instantaneous water heater unless it is room sealed or has an atmosphere-sensing device

If a room contains one or more of the above appliances and was used as a bedroom prior to 1998 your landlord will need to do a risk assessment to determine if it can still be used as a bedroom. If you are unsure of the safety of any gas appliance you should arrange with your landlord for a Gas Safe registered engineer to check it.

If your needs change it is advisable to speak to your landlord in the first instance to ensure that your gas safety is maintained.

What are my landlord's responsibilities if they have provided LPG appliances?

Landlord duties for LPG appliances are the same as for natural gas. The landlord must arrange for maintenance by a Gas Safe registered engineer for all LPG appliances which they own and provide for tenants and have a Gas Safe registered engineer carry out a safety check at least once every 12 months.

In addition to maintenance, there are some further safety precautions to take with LPG heaters:

  • be aware that cabinet heaters need a good supply of fresh air to burn properly so the room must be well ventilated
  • ensure any heaters have an atmospheric sensing device- it will shut the appliance off if the air quality is poor
  • ensure that the correct size and type of gas bottle is being used
  • be aware that outdoor heaters and not designed for use indoors

Do I have to grant access to allow the gas maintenance and safety check to take place?

You should allow access to the property to enable the gas maintenance visits and safety check to be undertaken, as it helps to keep you and your family safe. If you fail to provide access then there are further steps your landlord can take to gain access for the gas maintenance visits and safety check to be undertaken.

What if I do not use gas – do I still need to allow access for gas checks?

If there is a live gas supply to the rented premises a safety check will need to be carried out irrespective of whether a tenant uses gas. Access should be allowed by the tenant for these purposes.

What should I do if I smell gas or I am concerned about the safety of any gas appliances?

If you suspect there is a gas leak you should immediately do the following:

  • call National Grid's Gas Emergency freephone number: 0800 111 999
  • open all the doors and windows
  • shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve (if you know where it is)

It is illegal for anyone to use a gas appliance if they suspect it is unsafe. Turn the appliance off and do not touch it until it has been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

What support is available to help me understand my duties under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998?

Free leaflets explaining some of the main requirements of landlords, under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and general gas safety information are available from HSE.

HSE runs a free Gas Safety Advice Line offering advice on gas safety that is open between 9.00am and 5.30 pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on Friday (excluding bank holidays). To contact the Gas Safety Advice Line freephone 0800 300 363.

Should I always follow the advice of a Gas Safe registered engineer?

If your engineer recommends that more work needs to be done on your appliance always follow the advice given. If you have doubts over the advice follow it in the interim period and contact Gas Safe Register website for further advice.

Why are ventilation and flues so important?

To help operate safely, all gas appliances need the following:

  • an adequate supply of air to help the complete combustion of gas
  • efficient operation of their flue to remove any combustion products, including carbon monoxide (CO), that are produced

Without these safety precautions dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up with the possibility of fatal consequences. There are some easy ways to help avoid the build up of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • never block ventilation
  • ensure that flues are kept clear at all times
  • have your appliance regularly maintained and annually serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer

How do I know if an engineer is Gas Safe registered?

All Gas Safe registered engineers carry ID cards which tell you which appliances they are qualified to work on.

You can check that the engineer or the business is on the Gas Safe Register website.

What can I do if my landlord is harassing and/or threatening to evict me?

Advice numbers to call include:

  • Shelter's campaign for bed-sit rights 020 7505 2135
  • Citizens Advice Bureau (local office)
  • Shelterline 0808 800 4444
  • Local Shelter housing aid centre

What should I do if my question isn't answered on any of your FAQ pages?

HSE runs a free Gas Safety Advice Line offering information on gas safety that is open between 9.00am and 5 .30 pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on Friday (excluding bank holidays). To contact the Gas Safety Advice Line freephone 0800 300 363.

2014-07-21