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Confusion reigns over gas safety for landlords

17th January 2019

Any landlord, whether letting their property on a short-term or long-term basis, has a duty of care to ensure that it is safe and secure for their tenant(s). A key aspect of this is gas safety, and the government has been taken to task recently over a lack of commitment to helping a raft of landlords who have unwittingly granted assured tenancies instead of the assured shorthold tenancies they intended to issue. With the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) having decided not to pass additional legislation but instead to publish on their website further guidance to landlords as to their responsibilities regarding the issuing of gas safety certificates, there is a concern that landlords may fall foul of the regulations without even realising.

Landlords’ obligations regarding gas safety include ensuring that gas pipework, appliances and chimneys or flues are maintained in a safe condition and have a legal duty to provide tenants with a Landlords Gas Safety Certificate annually. Any gas appliance should be regularly serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Should those instructions not be available, it is advisable carry out servicing on an annual basis. In addition, it is worth noting that landlords are not responsible for the checking and maintenance of any gas appliances that belong to their tenants, although there is an obligation to ensure that any connecting pipework and flues that connect to those appliances are appropriately maintained. It is also important to keep records of gas safety certificates and compliance checks for two years, and to ensure that any contractor undertaking inspections and maintenance is not only Gas Safe registered but also authorised to work with the type of gas and appliances they are being commissioned to inspect.

As Andrew Ward, owner and founder of Award Property Management, confirms, the lack of government action is likely to lead to a prolonged period of confusion for landlords. ‘As letting agents in Cambridge, we pride ourselves on diligently working with our landlord clients to ensure that they comply with all relevant legislation,’ comments Andrew. ‘In our view the MHCLG could be taking a more proactive stance regarding gas safety certificates, especially as the law stipulates that a landlord who has without realising entered into an assured tenancy because they have failed to issue an annual gas safety certificate prior to the start of the tenancy is in breach of the regulations. We regard it as part of our remit to work with all our landlord clients to ensure that they tick all the regulatory boxes before, during and at the end of every tenancy agreement, but there’s no doubt that some landlords who are either managing properties themselves or who have engaged less meticulous agents will be failing to meet their legal obligations.’

Award Property Management are letting agents in Cambridge, so if you’re looking for expert help and advice with any aspect of the rental market why not give us a call on 01954 718660? We’d love to hear from you.

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