Landlords must have the gas installations inspected annually by an engineer registered with the Gas Safe Register. Tenants must be given a certificate provided by the engineer, both when they go into the property and on an annual basis once the tenancy has started.
You are not entitled to pass this cost on to the tenant or ask them to arrange for the inspection or to get any remedial work done. This is the landlord’s responsibility.
It is especially important to make sure that the engineer is qualified to do the relevant work – this information will be on their identification card.
As a landlord, if you fail to comply with the gas regulations, you can face prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive who enforce these regulations. It is worth noting that they will not do this if you can show three documented attempts to obtain access to have the inspection done and are able to prove that your tenants have failed to allow access.
The best way to ensure that access is not an issue is to try all means of contacting your tenant possible and make sure you make at least three attempts to have the inspection done.
A suggested procedure is:
- Make an appointment and inform the tenants
- If the Gas Safe registered engineer is unable to gain access at this appointment, then write to the tenants explaining that a gas safety check is a legal requirement for their own safety and asking for the tenants to get in touch to arrange another appointment
- If there is no response within 21 days, send a further letter
- If there is still no response contact your local Health and Safety Executive and inform them of what you have done
- Keep records (giving the date and time and any other details) of all correspondence and any other contact attempt with the tenant.
A landlord who follows this procedure should be safe from prosecution under the regulations.
Even if you or the letting agent hold keys to the property, you should always try to refrain from entering the property when it is empty without the tenant’s permission, particularly if they are in dispute with the tenant. Even though, as a landlord, you have a legal obligation to get the inspection done, this does not entitle you to enter the property against the wishes of the tenant, particularly when the tenant is not there.
If the tenant continues to refuse access you may want to consider refusing to continue the tenancy and serving a section 21 notice, or if the tenancy has a long time still to run, even applying to court for an injunction. These are known as ‘gas injunctions’ and are fairly common for social tenancies where section 21 is not available.
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 you can have the annual gas safety check on each appliance or flue carried out up to 2 months before the date the check needs to be carried out but still retain the original deadline date as if the check had been carried out exactly 12 months after the previous check.
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