Maintenance - gas appliances and flues
The requirement for landlords to provide domestic gas maintenance is distinct from the requirement for keeping gas safety records.
Effective maintenance of appliances usually involves an ongoing programme of regular/periodic inspections, together with any necessary remedial work. In the absence of specific manufacturer's instructions, effective maintenance should include as a minimum:
- examination of the physical condition and safe functioning of appliance(s), installation pipework, ventilation and any flue for deterioration
- carrying out performance tests
- taking the necessary remedial action
For more information see Regulation (36)(2) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998. You must ensure that pipework is maintained in a safe condition. This will normally involve a programme of regular inspections, and any necessary repairs.
Access to the property
The contract you make with your tenant should allow you access for any maintenance or safety check work that needs to be done. You must not use force to enter the property.
A landlord has to show that they took all reasonable steps to comply with the law. HSE recommends the following actions in these circumstances 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 your contact details.
- Write to the tenant explaining that a safety check is a legal requirement and that it is for the tenants 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.
How often should the pipework be checked?
Installation pipework is not covered by the annual gas safety check. But we recommend that when you request a safety check, you ask your Gas Safe registered engineer to:
- test for soundness on the whole gas system, including installation pipework
- visually examine the pipework (as far as is reasonably practicable)
You should also ask your Gas Safe registered engineer to examine the installation pipework if there is any damage, for example if the tenant reports a suspected gas leak. When tenants vacate your premises, it is a recommended to ask your engineer to inspect and test the pipework.
How often should the appliance or flue be serviced?
Gas appliances and flues should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If these are not available, we recommend that they are serviced annually, unless your Gas Safe registered engineer advises you otherwise.
Before you relet a property after tenants have vacated it, you need to ensure that all appliances and flues are safe and have an up-to-date gas safety check record. A copy of this record needs to be given to tenants before moving in. If you suspect that an appliance could have been tampered with, or there is the possibility of vandalism while a property remains empty, HSE recommends you arrange for another gas safety check to be completed by a Gas Safe registered engineer before giving access to new tenants.
When tenants vacate your premises, they may have removed appliances unsafely (eg leaving open-ended pipes, having shut off the emergency control valve), or left their own appliances in place. Landlords should clarify appliance ownership before reletting. Appropriate checks should be carried out and any unsafe equipment rectified or removed before a new tenancy begins.
HSE also recommends that installation pipework is inspected and tested for soundness before property is relet.
Landlords need to take account of any appliance left by a tenant (ie when a lease comes to an end) which the landlord decides to retain in the premises, ensuring that it is included in the annual checks and maintenance arrangements.
Regulation 36(2) requires ongoing maintenance check, eg before a new tenancy starts.
Who can do the maintenance?
All maintenance checks and repairs must be done by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
What records do I need to keep?
There are no formal requirements for you to keep maintenance records. But you will need to be able to show, if asked, that you have regularly maintained the flues and appliances and completed required repairs. You do not have to provide records for tenants.
Who is responsible for repairs?
Landlords are responsible for repairs required as a result of general wear and tear.
Who pays for repairs as a result of tenant damage?
Your tenancy agreement should make it clear who is responsible for repairs if a tenant causes damage to appliances or flues.
What needs to be maintained?
Any gas appliance or flue installed in the premises. This includes any appliances or flues serving the premises (such as central heating boilers not installed in tenants' accommodation but used to heat them). Where a building has a communal flue for multiple dwellings, the landlord must ensure that the flue is maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer . This may involve co-ordinating safety activity with the building owner if that is not the landlord
What's not covered?
Appliances owned by the tenant; flues or chimneys solely connected to an appliance owned by the tenant.
Do I need to maintain a flue that passes through the property even if there are no gas appliances in the property?
Yes you must still maintain the flue in a safe condition and carry out any required repairs. As there are no appliances, an annual gas safety check is not required.