Are the UK’s gas checks good enough?

There are around five million privately rented properties in the UK. But unfortunately, some people believe that this has led to gas safety being dubbed a ‘postcode lottery’ despite requirements set out by the government. And it’s not just property owners who are in the firing line — more than 20% of small business energy users don’t know that failing to have an annual gas safety check could invalidate their insurance.

Gas safety monitoring require expertise. Poorly fitted and maintained gas appliances can cause fuel leaks, fires and even explosions, as well as carbon monoxide poisoning. As a result, landlords who fail to comply with gas safety regulations can face tens of thousands of pounds in fines.

Alongside Flogas — a leading gas supply firm — we’ll explore how current gas safety issues and whether they’re putting lives in danger, as well as how landlords can make sure their premises are safe.

How well regulated is gas safety?

Regulations regarding gas safety vary depending on location. Under the Landlord Licence Scheme, landlords must prove they’ve met the legal requirement for an annual gas safety check in all their properties before they can let them out. However, just 40 local authorities across the country currently operate a Landlord Licence Scheme in their area.

Unfortunately, and indeed dangerously, gas safety is often not a priority. Although, most landlords are aware of what’s required to keep their properties and tenants safe, there are still many premises at the mercy of negligent landlords who are carrying out suspect DIY heating repairs or skipping annual checks. What’s more, with 7,500 unregistered gas fitters responsible for 250,000 illegal gas jobs in the UK every year, rogue traders are still much a problem nationwide.

Lack of awareness and knowledge are also to blame for problems in gas safety. For example, a shocking number of small businesses that are using mains gas are failing to stay on top of gas safety in the workplace. In fact, a recent survey found that 23% had no idea that their gas appliances need to be checked on an annual basis — and a worrying 18% haven’t had a visit from a Gas Safe Engineer in the last year.

What does this mean for landlords?

The responsibility of gas safety lies with the landlord. So, how can they make sure that their premises are fit for purpose, as well as keep energy users in the loop?

Annual check

A Gas Safe registered engineer must carry out a full gas safety check once a year. Again, you don’t need to organise checks for any of your tenants’ own appliances (or flues that connect only to appliances owned by the tenant).

Maintain gas supply

Utilising the expertise and knowledge of a Gas Safe registered engineer to service your gas appliances and maintain any gas pipework and chimneys or flues is essential. The manufacturer’s instructions should outline how often appliances should be serviced, but if these are not available then the Gas Safe Register recommends servicing once a year. Appliances owned by tenants don’t fall within this remit, and neither do flues that connect only to tenants’ appliances.

Recording events

Make a record to ensure you’re up-to-date — remember, all gas safety checks conducted in your property must be recorded on a Landlord Gas Safety form. As well as keeping a copy for yourself (for at least two years, or until a further two checks have been carried out), you must provide your tenants with their own copy within 28 days. For new tenants, it’s at the start of the tenancy, and for any rental periods shorter than 28 days, simply display the record in a prominent place in the property.

What changes are being made this year?

As of April this year, landlords can organise their gas safety checks up to two months ahead of time. This won’t affect the expiry date on the current certificate. You can now arrange a new check any time within 10-12 months of the last one — and when the old certificate runs out, the new one will simply run for the next year.

Be aware, another safety check may be needed earlier than you anticipate. If this is less than 10 months or more than 12 months before the last one, the expiry date will be a year on from when your new certificate is issued. It’s worth noting that landlords who make use of the new rules must keep their gas safety records until two further gas safety checks have been carried out.

Consequently, landlords can organise new gas checks prior to the former one running out — without shortening their certificate’s lifespan. It also makes it easier to keep track of renewal dates, as these stay the same each year.

The majority of UK landlords are pleased about this change. Why? Because it helps uphold the very highest gas safety standards, while making the checks process more flexible and straightforward.

 

For more information: https://www.flogas.co.uk/shop