As a landlord, the safety of your properties and the tenants renting them should be your top priority. It is your responsibility to ensure that any properties you rent out are safe, secure and comfortable, and this includes making sure all gas appliances are compliant with safety regulations.
After all, there’s more to being a landlord than focusing on the decoration of your home and responding to queries quickly. The consequences of renting an unsafe property could be huge, so you need to make sure you take all viable steps to keep your tenants safe in their new home.
Why is gas safety so important and why do landlords need a dedicated certificate? Here we discuss the importance of both:
What is a landlord gas safety certificate?
As mentioned previously, one of your responsibilities as a landlord is to ensure that any properties you rent are safe and habitable. This includes making sure that any gas appliances within the property are well-maintained and safe for use, according to the standards set out by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
Under these regulations, landlords are legally required to maintain gas fittings and flues which serve gas fittings within the property. They must also ensure that all appliances and flues are checked within 12 months of being installed and every 12 months after this point by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
During this inspection, the engineer will inspect all gas appliances within the property, including gas cookers, underfloor heating, gas heaters, gas boilers and gas fireplaces. If, however, your tenants own gas appliances which they have brought into the property, it is not your responsibility to have these inspected.
Once all gas appliances are checked and approved, you should be provided with a landlord gas safety certificate. This is a record of the inspections that have taken place and acts as your proof of compliance with the 1998 regulations set out by the government.
Upon receiving your landlord’s gas safety certificate, it is imperative to keep a copy for a minimum of two years. You should also provide a copy to your tenants within 28 days of the inspection for their own records, or supply new tenants with a copy of your latest inspection if it was carried out before the start date of the tenancy.
Why are landlord gas safety certificates important?
Landlord gas safety certificates are a legal requirement for all landlords responsible for UK rental properties equipped with gas appliances. It is your responsibility to find a qualified and Gas Safe-registered engineer to conduct inspections of your rental properties, as failing to do so could mean that your appliances are not checked according to the government’s regulations.
The consequences of this could be huge. Poorly fitted or maintained gas appliances may leak, which can lead to gas fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, both of which can be fatal. The safety of your tenants is of the utmost importance, so you need to make sure that you’ve taken all steps to protect them against gas leaks and explosions.
Failing to comply with government regulations is also a criminal offence. If you are found to have rented out a property with gas appliances that haven’t been inspected, you may find yourself facing a £6000 fine or up to six months in prison. Your landlord’s insurance may also become void which means you will need to pay extra to resume a policy.
With all things considered, it is extremely important to make sure all gas appliances within the properties you are renting out have been checked by a qualified engineer and that you have the certificate to prove it.
What else are landlords responsible for?
Of course, making sure your gas appliances are well-maintained and Gas Safe compliant is one of the most important things you can do as a landlord, but that’s not all. Before you let a property, you should also consider the following to ensure the safety and comfort of your tenants:
Taking out comprehensive landlord’s insurance
Landlords’ insurance is not only designed to protect your tenants, but also yourself. There are many different types of insurance policies that you may want to consider when renting out a property, including:
● Buildings insurance
● Contents insurance
● Liability insurance
● Legal expenses insurance
● Loss of rent insurance.
Having landlords’ insurance is not a legal obligation but is certainly something you may want to consider to protect yourself and your tenants financially.
Obtaining an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate
It is a legal requirement for landlords to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for any property they are responsible for. EPCs give buildings a rating of energy efficiency between A and G, with an A rating signifying a good level of energy efficiency and therefore being the most desirable outcome.
The purpose of an energy performance inspection is to identify how much energy the property in question uses and how much the inhabitants will need to pay for energy costs. As a landlord, you are legally obligated to make sure that any properties you are renting out achieve at least an E EPC rating.
To obtain an Energy Performance Certificate, you will need to hire a qualified domestic energy assessor. Once you have an EPC, it will remain valid for 10 years.
Checking the safety of all electrical appliances
In addition to making sure all gas appliances are in sound condition, you also need to have all electrical appliances inspected before your tenants move in. If there are any issues identified, you will need to have them resolved by a qualified electrician immediately.
It is recommended that you have a PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) test conducted before you put your property on the market; this will check the safety of any washing machines, refrigerators, electric cookers and any other electric appliances you have provided.
To ensure your tenants’ safety, it is also best practice to have an electrical safety inspection conducted and to provide them with a copy of the certificate upon moving in. This is a comprehensive inspection carried out by a qualified electrician and is designed to check that all electrical appliances within a property are safe for use.
Checking all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
In the case of a fire or a gas leak, your tenants must be able to rely on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to alert them. These alarms can be life-saving during these situations and are a necessity for rented properties.
According to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, private sector landlords are legally required to install at least one smoke alarm on every storey of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel-burning appliance.
Double-check every alarm in the property is working before a new tenancy begins and advise your tenants to conduct their own inspections regularly too.
Cleaning the property
When renting out a property, you need to make sure it’s in a liveable condition. This includes making sure it has been cleaned thoroughly prior to the tenancy commencing. Don’t forget to:
● Fix any damage caused by yourself, builders or previous tenants.
● Conduct a deep clean of every room in the house, paying particular attention to bathrooms and food preparation areas.
● Shampoo all carpets within the property and vacuum thoroughly.
● Make sure all windows and frames have been cleaned.
● Tackle any areas of dust build-up, such as on top of cabinets and shelves.
Your tenants will want to arrive to a spotless new abode, so make sure you spend time cleaning every room until it is at an appropriate standard for living.
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