Gas Safety Checks 2021: What Private Landlords Must Know

By Jonathan Daines

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Gas Safety Check Regulations for Private Landlords – A 2021 Guide for Buy to Lets

This post was last updated on July 14th, 2021 at 10:18 am

Gas safety checks are a key responsibility for every landlord. In this article, we cover everything landlords need to know about the Gas Safety Regulations. Find out what your responsibilities are: including what the legal requirements mean, how often you need a gas inspection and when to provide your tenant with a Gas Safety Certificate.

What are the gas safety regulations for landlords?

The Gas Safety Regulations (Installation and Use) 1998 place legal duties on landlords and letting agents to ensure the safety of gas fittings and appliances in rental properties.

Under these regulations, landlords must maintain the safety of:

  • Gas appliances
  • Pipework leading to gas appliances
  • Flues from gas appliances

This is carried out by an annual inspection of all appliances and systems and a check of the meter to ensure there are no leaks.

Book your annual gas safety inspection here.

What are the benefits of the Gas Safety Regulations 2018?

April 2018 saw the implementation of the Gas Safety Regulations (Installation and Use) – (Amendment) 2018 (The Regulations). This provided landlords with more flexibility around the renewal of gas safety records. 

The changes were introduced following a consultation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) between November 2016 and January 2017.

Prior to the amendment, landlords were required to complete gas safety checks “within 12 months” of the installation or the last check.

Landlords often began this process early in order to avoid issues gaining access to properties. It is common for this to result in 11 checks taking place every 10 years as opposed to the statutory 10 checks.

Since 2018, the Gas Safety Regulations have given landlords increased flexibility without compromising the safety of the tenant.  The Approved Code of Practice and Guidance gives advice on how to meet the requirements.

The amendments introduced flexibility in the timing of annual gas safety checks without disadvantaging them by shortening the safety check cycle. This flexibility reduced the issue of ‘over complying and enabled improved maintenance planning; benefiting both the tenant and the landlord.

How often do I need a gas safety inspection?

Landlords are legally required to renew their gas safety certificate every year.

The Gas Safety Regulations 2018 give landlords an option to renew the gas safety record up to two months prior to the ‘deadline date’. The deadline date is the end of the 12-month period, i.e. during months 11 and 12 of the current gas safety record – without losing any of the validity period.

Following completion of the check, the record will be treated as if it has been carried out on the last day of the 12-month period of validity.

For example, if your current gas safety certificate expires on October 1st 2021, you could carry out your gas safety check on August 1st 2021 and your new certificate will still be valid until October 1st 2022.

It is important to note that this ‘MOT style’ of renewal is only available if you can prove that your two previous gas checks were carried out on time. In the event that a landlord cannot evidence the two previous gas safety records, the expiry date of the current gas safety record will be used as 12 months from the date of the last gas safety check.

What does a gas safety check involve?

An annual gas safety check involves a certified Gas Safe Registered Engineer visiting the rental property to inspect the gas appliances, like the hob and oven, and systems, like the boiler and hot water cylinder. During their visit, the engineer will:

  • Carry out a visual inspection of all gas appliances
  • Check and record the gas rate and burner pressure
  • Carry out a tightness test at the gas meter to ensure there are no leaks
  • Test the appliance flue gases
  • Check and clean the condense trap
  • Check the ventilation and air supply
  • Ensure safety devices are working
  • Carry out a visual check of your heating system to look for defects, including radiators and hot water cylinders
  • Visually inspect the boiler flue system (including loft space if required)
  • Check the pressure vessel inside the boiler
  • Provide you with a gas safety certificate

It’s important to note that an annual gas safety check is different to a gas or boiler service. Whilst a check involves inspection and testing, it does not include the repairing of appliances.

How long does a gas safety check take?

A gas safety check usually takes around 30 minutes to complete, although this does depend on the size of the property. It may take longer if urgent repairs are needed.

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When do I receive my gas safety certificate?

After your gas safety inspection, your engineer will provide you with a digital copy of the Landlord Gas Safety Record, otherwise known as a gas safety certificate or ‘CP12’.

If you book your gas safety inspection through LettingaProperty.com, we will receive the certificate via email and forward it to you.

What does my gas safety certificate include?

Your gas safety certificate will include:

  • A description and location of every appliance
  • The name, registration number and signature of the engineer
  • The date of the check was carried out
  • The address of the property
  • Information on any defects or faults and how to fix them

What happens if my property fails its gas safety check?

If your engineer considers any gas appliances defective or unsafe, they will indicate this on the certificate by ticking the “Not safe to use” checkbox.

There are three different codes used on certificates to show that appliances are not safe to use:

  • Immediately Dangerous (ID) – an appliance that poses an immediate danger to life
  • At Risk (AR) – an appliance or installation with at least one fault that could pose a danger to life
  • Not to Current Standards (NCS) – an appliance or installation that does not meet current standards but is technically safe

For immediate dangers and risk, your gas engineer will request permission to disconnect the gas supply. They will then suggest any remedial work that needs to be carried out to fix the issues. To avoid putting your tenants in any danger, repair work needs to be made within a reasonable time – ideally as soon as possible.

Where can I find a qualified Gas Safe engineer?

All gas safety checks and services should be carried out by a fully qualified Gas Safe Engineer. You or your tenant should ask the engineer to present their ID on arrival to ensure that they are certified.

Unfortunately, over a quarter of a million illegal jobs are carried out every year by unqualified engineers and a third of UK adults admit to not checking their engineer is Gas Safe certified (Gas Safe Register).

All gas safety inspections purchased and arranged through LettingaProperty.com are always carried out by a certified Gas Safe engineer.

Book your annual gas safety inspection today.

If you are unsure on whether your engineer is Gas Safe certified, you can check on the Gas Safe Register.

What is my right to enter the property to carry out a gas safety check?

Landlords must give their tenants at least 24 hours written notice before any visits are made to the property – including gas safety checks.

It is advisable to maintain a record of this notice, just in case the tenant refuses access and the landlord needs to demonstrate the steps that have been taken. In the unlikely event that this happens and the record is close to expiry or has expired, it would be advisable to inform the Environmental Health Department that the property does not have a valid gas safety record.

What are the COVID-19 rules regarding gas safety visits?

During the Coronavirus outbreak, landlords must ensure a balance between their legal maintenance duties and protecting their tenants from COVID-19.

The government advises that landlords should take all reasonable steps to carry out annual gas safety checks. Failure to do so could put tenants at serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or fatal gas explosions.

If a tenant is vulnerable, shielding or self-isolating, they should inform the landlord and the inspection can delayed until after the isolation period has ended.

Gas engineers should wear sufficient PPE when entering the property, stay distant from others and sanitise hands where possible.

More information about COVID-19 and gas checks can be found here: Gas Safe Register – Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for Landlords.

For general advice regarding COVID-19 and renting, you can visit: GOV.UK Guidance for landlords and tenants

When do I provide my tenant with a copy of the gas safety certificate?

Following your annual gas safety check, you must provide a copy of the gas safety certificate to your tenants as soon as possible. For current tenants, you must give them a copy of the record within 28 days of the inspection. For new tenants, you must provide it at the start of their tenancy.

What are the penalties for not having a gas safety inspection and gas safety certificate?

Failure to comply with the Gas Safety Regulations is a serious offence.

Being unable to provide a gas safety record is a criminal offence and landlords can be liable for unlimited fines and/or six months of imprisonment.

This is also classed as a hazardous situation and landlords can be subject to enforcement actions, such as prohibition or improvement notices or even emergency remedial action by the local authority.

How do gas safety records affect Section 21 notices?

Under the Deregulation Act 2015, all landlords of assured shorthold tenancies on properties where there is gas, must provide their tenants with a valid gas safety record before the tenancy begins.

This forms part of the prescribed legal requirements to be served on the tenant alongside the Energy Performance Certificate and the government How to Rent guide. If you don’t provide your tenant with this information, you will not be able to issue a Section 21 notice.

In June 2017, the case of Assured Property Services Ltd v Ooo found that failure to provide a gas safety record prior to the tenant occupying the property was in breach of the Deregulation Act 2015.  This prevented the landlord from serving a Section 21 notice on the tenant and his application for possession was refused with costs being awarded to the tenant.

In February 2018, the case of Caridon Property v Monty Shooltz also refused possession on the basis that the Section 21 notice was invalid due to Caridon Property failing to serve a valid gas safety record prior to the tenant moving in. A gas safety record was issued to the tenant 11 months after the tenancy began, and prior to the service of the Section 21 notice, but the judge did not accept this to be sufficient. The case went to appeal and the County Court Circuit Judge upheld the decision of the trial judge.

Eviction support and Legal Expenses Cover are included in all our fixed-fee rental plans.

What if the gas appliances belong to the tenant?

A tenant is permitted to make use of their own gas appliances within the landlord’s property, but the appliances are not the landlord’s liability.

However, the landlord does have a legal obligation to ensure the installation of the gas within the property is checked. This needs to be carried out periodically as opposed to annually.

If an engineer was testing other appliances, i.e. a boiler within the property, it would be reasonable to check the installation of gas to the cooker that belongs to the tenant.

Section 36) 2) of the Gas Safety Regulations states:

(2) Every landlord shall ensure that there is maintained in a safe condition—

(a) any relevant gas fitting; and

(b) any flue which serves any relevant gas fitting,

so as to prevent the risk of injury to any person in lawful occupation or relevant premises.

What are the gas safety regulations for HMOs?

Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) must abide by the same gas safety regulations, ensuring all appliances and systems are safe to be used by tenants.

Landlords of HMOs must carry out a gas safety check every 12 months and – if requested- must provide a copy of the gas safety record to the local authority.

This applies to all HMOs, not just licensable HMOs.

What if the property is sublet?

In the event that the property is sublet, the ‘head landlord’ is responsible for ensuring the property meetings the gas safety requirements.

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Are any tenancies exempt from gas safety inspections?

Properties without the supply of gas are not required to provide a gas safety record. Tenancy agreements granted for seven years or more are also exempt from the landlord having to provide the tenant with a gas safety record.

I’m a tenant and have never seen my gas safety certificate, what should I do?

If you have not received a copy of the gas safety record, you should contact your landlord or letting agent and ask them to supply you with one.

If your landlord refuses to provide you with this, you should contact your local authority and let them know.

Along with an annual gas safety check, landlords must have an Energy Performance Certificate every ten years. All private rental properties must have an energy performance rating of ‘E’ or above and tenants must receive a copy of the certificate before the tenancy starts.

Landlords also have a legal responsibility to ensure all electrical appliances and wirings are safe. Under The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, landlords must carry out an electrical check every five years and have a valid Electrical Installation Condition Report before letting their property.

These regulations apply to new tenancies from 1st July 2020 and cover all existing tenancies from 1st April 2021.

Read more: Mandatory Electrical Safety Inspections for Landlords.

Got a question this article hasn’t answered? Let us know in the comments.

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About Jonathan Daines

As Founder and CEO since 2008, Jonathan’s passion for property, technology and entrepreneurship inspired the creation and innovation of LettingaProperty.com. With the support of a dedicated team of industry professionals, for the past 11 years he has built a digital marketplace offering low-cost services that empowers landlords and tenants to let and rent property with ease.

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Gas Safety Regulations 2018 for Private Landlords
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Gas Safety Regulations 2018 for Private Landlords
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Gas Safety Regulations 2018 (6th April) affords Private Landlords with more flexibility around the renewal dates of Gas Safety Certificates.
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LettingaProperty.com
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