Gas Safety Checks:
Similar the car MOT, where the test can be done ahead of time, while retaining the existing renewal date, landlord gas checks will now be allowed on the same basis, up to 2 months ahead of time.
The idea behind the move is to prevent landlords falling foul of the law when they experience difficulties arranging access to the property and the gas appliances. Landlords and agents, after April 2018, will be in a position to start the process early and have a valid test certificate in place before the old one runs out without affecting the renewal dates.
Failure to comply with the gas and other safety standards in rented properties render landlords open to heavy fines and even prison if things go wrong. So some relaxation in the timing of the rules will be welcomed by landlords, but any transgressions are likely to be less tolerated by the enforcement agencies, including local authorities and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
The new Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 are due to come into force on 6 April 2018, amending those in force since 1998. The HSE say they are not aimed at reducing or relaxing safety standards, but to allow greater flexibility over when regular checks are being carried out.
Landlords often experience difficulties arranging inspections, checks and servicing of gas systems and appliances, and complying with the law when tenants are either reluctant to allow access or they themselves find it difficult when the need to take time off work to be present. Another difficulty landlords have is when the engineer turns up and is unable to gain access. This involves costs which all parties are reluctant to pay.
Landlords cannot force access without their tenant’s cooperation, so through no fault of their own, they may be put in a position where they are breaking the law. The new system is designed to give landlords, agents and tenants more time to comply.
The new rules aim to address situations where landlords may be forced into making last minute checks, being unable able to arrange access at short notice, or having the expense of shortening the annual gas check cycle to comply with the law.
The Health & Safety Executive says:
Main changes to the legislation
The changes to GSIUR, which do not relax regulatory requirements or reduce safety standards, are to:
- introduce of a degree of flexibility to the timing of landlords’ annual gas safety checks. This MOT-style change means that landlords can carry out the annual gas safety check in the two months before the due date and retain the existing expiry date. This avoids landlords waiting until the last minute and not gaining access, or having to shorten the annual cycle check to comply with the law. There is no change to the legal requirement for an annual gas safety check or for maintenance to be carried out
- incorporate an existing exemption into law to carry out alternative checks in situations where there is no meter to directly measure the heat input and it is not possible to measure the operating pressure, and extend the scope slightly to include situations where the meter is not accessible or the meter display is not working
- disapply most of the requirements of GSIUR for installations fed by a dedicated gas supply, which are primarily used to supply compressed natural gas (CNG) to vehicles and which incorporate at least one gas compressor with an electric motor input power rating exceeding 5 kilowatts, bringing them in line with other industrial premises. Other more appropriate regulations already apply to these premises
Gas Safe Register Tips on Gas Safety in Rental Property:
- Have all gas appliances in your rental property safety must be checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. As part of any safety check ensure that the engineer carries out a tightness test of the pipework to ensure there are no gas leaks, and a visual inspection of accessible gas pipework should also be completed to ensure the installation is in good condition.
- Find or check a Gas Safe registered engineer in your areausing our online search or call on 0800 408 5500.
- Make sure you ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe Register IDcard both front and back. The front will confirm their registration and identity, the back will confirm they can do the gas work you’ve employed them to do.
- Stay aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning– headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness and make sure you comply with the law by providing a carbon monoxide monitor in any room with a solid fuel appliance, and ideally any room with a gas burning appliance.
- Look out for warning signs that a gas appliance isn’t working properly– lazy yellow flames, excessive condensation and black marks/stains. However, gas appliances can be unsafe without displaying these symptoms.
- Buy audible carbon monoxide alarmsand install (in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines) near to gas appliances, and it is a legal requirement in rental property to have these near solid fuel burning appliances. Alarms are a strong second line of defence against carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Use gas appliances for their intended purposes only, e.g. cookers should not be used to heat a room.
- Provide enough ventilation for gas appliances to burn correctlyand make sure no air vents or chimneys are blocked.
- If you know of anyone doing gas work outside of Gas Safe registration, they are breaking the law.You can report them to us online or contact us on the consumer helpline above.
- Make sure you always have in place and supply your tenants with a copy of a current annual gas safety check certificate, at the start and during every tenancy – find out more about renting a property.