Category: Gas Safety Regulations

GUIDE: Quick Guide To Landlord Legislation

GUIDE: Quick Guide To Landlord Legislation

Legislation can be a minefield for landlords. Regulations and laws relating to the private rental sector are increasingly in a state of near constant flux, meaning changes can be easy to miss. And this can be costly for landlords who fail to comply.

The latest government survey into private letting found that many landlords are not compliant with basic legislation. For instance, 38 per cent of those questioned did not check a tenant’s right to rent, while 48 per cent did not issue tenants with the Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide. Meanwhile, over 30 per cent of landlords failed to provide carbon monoxide alarms. A potentially deadly mistake.

As a landlord, you have to stay one step ahead of changes in the law. Every year brings more stringent legislation and 2020 is no exception. Here, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know when it comes to legislation, updated for 2020.

1. Do you need a landlord licence?

At present, the only UK-wide ruling that requires a landlord to obtain a licence is if a property is let as an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation). A property is classed as an HMO if at least three tenants live there – forming more than one household – and the toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are shared.

Courts are known to hand out huge fines to HMO landlords, and agents, who do not obtain HMO licences. In a recent case, a landlord and agent were given fines totalling £120,000 after a fatal house fire at an unlicensed HMO in Southall. LandlordZONE also reports that there are calls for tougher action surrounding the enforcement of HMO regulations, highlighting the need for landlords to ensure that they have obtained the appropriate licence for their property.

Individual councils are also able to issue selective licensing, through schemes that tackle poor housing stock or anti-social behaviour. This includes a 2018 ruling that allows them to define what constitutes an HMO in their area. An estimated 160,000 more rented homes required a licence under these decentralised powers. It is therefore a good idea to check with your local council to see if your property is classed as an HMO to license it correctly.

For more information on the exact guidelines for owning an HMO, please check the GOV UK licence details.

Landlords should also be aware that there are differences between HMO properties and bedsits which will impact licensing regulations.

Understanding Your Gas Safety Duties (pt. I)

Understanding Your Gas Safety Duties (pt. I)

Staying on top of the gas safety in a property you’re renting out may seem like extra hassle but as a landlord you have a number of responsibilities to take into consideration. Cutting corners on gas safety in your properties can have serious impacts, so it pays to understand what your obligations are.

The following is intended for Landlords of properties.

We are keen to highlight that, as set out below,  Landlords are responsible for their properties and have a duty of care to their tenants. This means that Registered Gas Engineers are not responsible for Landlords Gas Safety Checks being in place or up to date.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for landlords ​

The HSE have provided specific guidance for landlords, to help them with understanding their responsibilities during the pandemic. https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/covid-19-advice-and-guidance/landlords/.

What are your landlord responsibilities for gas safety?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline your duties as a landlord to make sure all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues are safe and working efficiently. If you’re letting a property with gas appliances installed, you’ve got three main legal responsibilities:

1. Gas safety checks

To ensure your tenants’ safety, all gas appliances and flues need to undergo an annual gas safety check – and always by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Once this has been done, you’ll be given a Landlord Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety certificate with details of all the checks that were carried out. It can also be referred to as a CP12 certificate.

You can arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out any time from 10-12 months after the last check, without affecting the original check expiry date. If it’s less than 10 or more than 12 months after the last check, you’ll end up with a new deadline date – 12 months from the most recent check.

Appliances owned by your tenants aren’t your responsibility – although it’s still up to you to ensure the safety of any connecting flues, unless they’re solely connected to the tenants’ appliance.

2. Gas Safety Record

Following the annual gas safety check and receipt of your Landlord Gas Safety Record, you’ll need to provide a record of this check to your tenants. By law, a copy of your Landlord Gas Safety Record should be given to your current tenants within 28 days of the gas safety check – and for new tenants, you’ll need to provide this at the start of their tenancy.

For rental periods of less than 28 days, just make sure you’ve clearly displayed a copy of your record within the property. You’ll need to keep copies of this gas safety check record until a further two checks have been carried out..

3. Maintenance

You’ll need to make sure that all gas pipework, appliances, chimneys and flues are kept in safe condition. Check the gas appliances’ manufacturer guidelines to find out how often a service is recommended. If you haven’t got access to these, we’d recommend an annual service – unless your Gas Safe registered engineer suggests otherwise.

Installation pipework isn’t covered by the annual gas safety check, but both we and the HSE recommend that when you request a safety check, you ask your Gas Safe registered engineer to:

  • Test for tightness on the whole gas system, including installation pipework
  • Visually examine the pipework (so far as is reasonably practicable)

There are no formal requirements for you to keep maintenance records, but you’ll need to be able to show that you have regularly maintained the pipework, appliances and flues and completed required repairs.

How much does a Landlord Gas Safety check cost?

The cost of your Landlord Gas Safety check will depend on the Gas Safe registered business who carries out your annual gas safety check. We recommend getting at least three quotes from companies before arranging for the check to be carried out. You can find a registered business in your local area on our Check The Register page. 

Additional information

It’s always a good idea to ensure your tenants know where and how to turn the gas off and what to do in the event of a gas emergency.

In Scotland, a private landlord must provide a carbon monoxide (CO) detector where there is fixed combustion appliance, but this does not apply to appliances solely used for cooking.  In Northern Ireland, a CO detector is required when a new or replacement combustion appliance is installed.

Last but not least, make sure it’s always a Gas Safe registered and qualified engineer that’s carrying out gas work or a gas safety check. Landlords are legally required to make sure this is the case – and it’s the most important step to ensuring your tenants’ safety.

Any issues?

We understand that some relationships between landlords and tenants can become problematic. The tenancy agreement should allow access for maintenance or safety checks, but if your tenant refuses to grant access you must show you’ve taken all ‘reasonable steps’ to comply with the law. This includes repeating attempts to carry out the checks and writing to the tenant to explaining that safety checks are a legal requirement in place for their own safety. Keep a record of any action you take; you may need this at a later date.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations don’t give powers to ‘force disconnection’ of the gas supply in these circumstances and you may need to seek legal advice.

What Is Landlord Boiler Cover?

What Is Landlord Boiler Cover?

If you’re a landlord and wondering whether you need landlord boiler cover, or if it’s even worth it, we’re here to help make up your mind. Taking out landlord boiler cover is essential to make sure your tenants stay warm and cosy and avoid those unexpected boiler breakdowns. Boiler cover, also known as gas boiler cover or boiler breakdown cover, is a type of insurance that protects your boiler if it were to breakdown or encounter a fault. If something was to go wrong with the boiler, the boiler cover will help cover the costs of engineer call outs and labour, as well as an annual boiler service, which is vital to keep the manufacturer warranty valid and the boiler in full working order.

Do I need landlord boiler cover? Is landlord boiler cover worth it?

As a landlord, it’ll be your responsibility to cover the costs associated with a broken or faulty boiler, as well as arranging for an engineer to sort the issue. Your tenants won’t be able to take out boiler cover themselves or arrange the repair themselves, which is why cover is also important in your absence. With your permission and with cover in place, the tenant may be able to arrange an engineer call out or repair if the boiler was to break down in your absence. If you already have landlord home insurance, you may have boiler cover in place as part of your buildings and contents insurance.

Most modern boilers will come bundled with a manufacturer warranty of up to 10 years depending on the installer. If you’ve chosen an installer that’s approved by the manufacturer, you’re more likely to have your boiler protected by an extended warranty. If you’re looking to install a Vaillant or Worcester Bosch boiler, keep a lookout for Vaillant Advanced and Worcester Accredited Installers to take full advantage of an extended warranty. If the boiler is older than 15 years, you may have to pay more for cover as it’s more likely that the boiler will break down due to its age. Some cover products will also have specific terms around whether they can cover you if the boiler has already broken down.

At this point, you’re probably wondering, what’s the point in landlord boiler cover if I have a manufacturer warranty? Your boiler’s manufacturer warranty shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on if your boiler was to run into a fault or break down. The warranty is only there to cover you if your boiler fails or breaks down within a certain number of years. However, if the fault or breakdown is caused by physical damage or limescale, this may void your warranty. It’s important to double check your manufacturer warranty to double check what is actually covered.

Landlord boiler cover takes the stress out of boiler breakdowns and repairs. You’ll avoid having to pay a large sum of money to repair your boiler, as well as a regular annual service scheduled to keep your manufacturer warranty valid. With the cover you’ll also get access to a helpline, unlimited call outs, and the added bonus of repairs to the boiler’s controls should they develop a fault. With cover, it’s always best to double check you’re getting the best deal possible.

What’s the difference between homeowner boiler cover and landlord boiler cover?

Boiler cover for a homeowner will usually include repairs for both your boiler and controls, an annual boiler service, and several call outs included in the monthly price. The main difference with landlord boiler cover is that you’ll get a Landlord Gas Safety Record, which is a legal document that shows that you have had your gas appliances checked annually.

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CP12’s & Gas Safety Regulations

CP12’s & Gas Safety Regulations

What are your landlord responsibilities for gas safety?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 outline your duties as a landlord to make sure all gas appliances, fittings, chimneys and flues are safe and working efficiently. If you’re letting a property with gas appliances installed, you’ve got three main legal responsibilities:

1. Gas safety checks

To ensure your tenants’ safety, all gas appliances and flues need to undergo an annual gas safety check – and always by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Once this has been done, you’ll be given a Landlord Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety certificate with details of all the checks that were carried out. It can also be referred to as a CP12 certificate.

You can arrange for a gas safety check to be carried out any time from 10-12 months after the last check, without affecting the original check expiry date. If it’s less than 10 or more than 12 months after the last check, you’ll end up with a new deadline date – 12 months from the most recent check.

Appliances owned by your tenants aren’t your responsibility – although it’s still up to you to ensure the safety of any connecting flues, unless they’re solely connected to the tenants’ appliance.

2. Gas Safety Record

Following the annual gas safety check and receipt of your Landlord Gas Safety Record, you’ll need to provide a record of this check to your tenants. By law, a copy of your Landlord Gas Safety Record should be given to your current tenants within 28 days of the gas safety check – and for new tenants, you’ll need to provide this at the start of their tenancy.

For rental periods of less than 28 days, just make sure you’ve clearly displayed a copy of your record within the property. You’ll need to keep copies of this gas safety check record until a further two checks have been carried out..

3. Maintenance

You’ll need to make sure that all gas pipework, appliances, chimneys and flues are kept in safe condition. Check the gas appliances’ manufacturer guidelines to find out how often a service is recommended. If you haven’t got access to these, we’d recommend an annual service – unless your Gas Safe registered engineer suggests otherwise.

Installation pipework isn’t covered by the annual gas safety check, but both we and the HSE recommend that when you request a safety check, you ask your Gas Safe registered engineer to:

  • Test for tightness on the whole gas system, including installation pipework
  • Visually examine the pipework (so far as is reasonably practicable)

There are no formal requirements for you to keep maintenance records, but you’ll need to be able to show that you have regularly maintained the pipework, appliances and flues and completed required repairs.

How much does a Landlord Gas Safety check cost?

The cost of your Landlord Gas Safety check will depend on the Gas Safe registered business who carries out your annual gas safety check. We recommend getting at least three quotes from companies before arranging for the check to be carried out. You can find a registered business in your local area on our Check The Register page. 

Additional information

It’s always a good idea to ensure your tenants know where and how to turn the gas off and what to do in the event of a gas emergency.

In Scotland, a private landlord must provide a carbon monoxide (CO) detector where there is fixed combustion appliance, but this does not apply to appliances solely used for cooking.  In Northern Ireland, a CO detector is required when a new or replacement combustion appliance is installed.

Last but not least, make sure it’s always a Gas Safe registered and qualified engineer that’s carrying out gas work or a gas safety check. Landlords are legally required to make sure this is the case – and it’s the most important step to ensuring your tenants’ safety.

Any issues?

We understand that some relationships between landlords and tenants can become problematic. The tenancy agreement should allow access for maintenance or safety checks, but if your tenant refuses to grant access you must show you’ve taken all ‘reasonable steps’ to comply with the law. This includes repeating attempts to carry out the checks and writing to the tenant to explaining that safety checks are a legal requirement in place for their own safety. Keep a record of any action you take; you may need this at a later date.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations don’t give powers to ‘force disconnection’ of the gas supply in these circumstances and you may need to seek legal advice.

Gas Safety Introduction For Landlords

If you are a landlord letting a property equipped with gas appliances you need to understand and comply with the law relating to gas safety.

Understanding the law for rental accomodation and annual checks

As a landlord, you are legally responsible for making sure that a Gas Safe registered engineer checks the gas appliances in your rental properties every 12 months and gives you copies of the gas safety certificates.

Gas Safety Certificates

When your Gas Safe registered engineer has checked the gas appliances in your rental property they will give you a gas safety certificate. This certificate confirms the gas appliances have been checked and are safe.

If you let a property, you must make sure that pipe work, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition. You need to have a gas safety check every year. A Gas Safe registered engineer must carry out the safety check in your properties in Great Britain and the Isle of Man. You must give your tenants a copy of the gas safety certificate within 28 days of it being carried out or before they move in.