Gas Safety – Your Rights as a Tenant

By | 13th April 2017

With around a third of us in the UK living in rented properties (1), there are a lot of tenants out there who need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities in regards to the gas safety certificate. Here, we explain what you need to know about gas safety, about your landlord’s responsibilities and about your own commitments under the laws.

Chart breaking down home ownership England and Wales. 8.3m renting households, 15.0m owner occupied households. At the time of 2011 Census, 8.3m households were in rented accomodation.

At the time of 2011 Census, 8.3m households were in rented properties.

 

What you need to know about gas safety checks in rented properties

Gas safety laws mean that every gas appliance provided to you in your rented accommodation should be checked by a registered engineer to ensure you are safe in the property. Compliance with these rules is through a simple annual gas safety check. This is proven by issuing a gas safety certificate, which is also sometimes called a CP12.

You should have an annual gas safety check if you are

  • Living in a privately rented property
  • Living in social housing / housing association property
  • Lodging with someone and paying for it
  • A domestic help in someone’s home who lives there
  • Living in a shorter-term rental such as an Airbnb property
  • Renting a caravan, mobile home or other holiday accommodation
  • Living in a hotel, B&B, hostel or guest house
  • Living in student accommodation that you pay for

Your landlord should arrange the check for you, and you should not be involved in the gas safety check procedure apart from allowing access to your home. You should be given at least a week’s notice of the proposed date and time of the annual gas safety check, and should have the opportunity to suggest another date and time if the proposed one is not convenient to you.

If an appliance fails a gas safety check, your landlord should take steps to repair it in good time. If everything passes the inspection, you should receive a copy of the gas safety certificate within 28 days. You do not have to worry about this inspection – it’s not an inspection of the house, your tidiness or anything you’ve done. It’s a safety procedure that must be carried out to ensure your health and wellbeing while you are living in that home.

The gas safety check procedure

The gas safety check procedure is very straightforward, and is nothing to worry about from a tenant point of view. You do not need to pay anything to the engineer, and will only need to provide access to your home for a short period. If you are worried about letting someone in for the gas safety check procedure, you could ask your landlord or managing agent to be present also.

When the engineer arrives, he should have about his person a Gas Safe Register identity card, like this:

Image showing the front and back of a gas safe register ID card. A gas safe register ID card will identify the engineer, how long his or her registration is valid. On the back it'll detail what areas of work he or she is competent in.

A gas safe register ID card will identify the engineer, how long his or her registration is valid. On the back it’ll detail what areas of work he or she is competent in. Only registered engineers can carry out a gas safety check and issue a CP12 or Gas Safety certificate.

 

You should ask to see his identification before allowing him access to the property, just to be on the safe side.

Once inside, the gas safety check procedure is fairly standard. The engineer will attend to every gas appliance in the property that belongs to your landlord, checking for things like:

  • Gas leaks
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) leaks
  • Pressure checks
  • Safety devices checks
  • Flue inspections
  • Stability checks

They will carry out these checks at the gas meter, on your gas boiler (if you have one) and any other gas appliances in the house, such as room heaters and cookers. They will not, however, check any gas appliance that belongs to you. For your own safety, you are encouraged to arrange for your own gas safety check if you have personal gas appliances in the property.

When the engineer has finished, he will be able to issue the CP12 gas safety certificate immediately, as long as all appliances have passed examination. Unless you have made prior arrangements with your landlord, the engineer will probably retain the certificate and post it to your landlord. However, you should receive a copy within 28 days of the inspection.

Image showing an empty template for gas safety certificate

A sample cp12 or gas safety certificate

Gas safety: Your landlord’s responsibilities

Part of gas safety is your landlord’s responsibility. This includes providing you with serviced, working and safety checked appliances, such as a boiler and cooker. It is also the landlord’s responsibility to comply with the Gas Safety Regulations 1998 (1), which state:

If you think your landlord is failing you in any of these responsibilities, talk to them about it. If they continue to refuse to comply, you can get further support from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Gas safety: Tenant’s responsibilities

As well as your landlord having responsibilities for gas safety checks in rented properties, you as a tenant have some obligations too. These include:

  • Not working on or fiddling with any gas appliances in the property
  • Informing the landlord or agent immediately if there is a problem with the gas system or appliance
  • Being aware of where the emergency shut-off valve is, as well as the emergency number to ring, in case of a gas emergency
  • Allowing access (with reasonable notice) to an engineer to carry out the annual gas safety check

There should be a clause in your tenancy agreement which states this information in black and white. Your landlord may also ask you not to bring your own gas items into the property, or to seek permission before you do, as these will not be covered by the gas safety certificate. If you do bring in your own appliance, you should arrange to have it serviced and checked for safety annually to avoid putting yourself at risk.

23 million people in the UK use gas for cooking, heating and hot water. If appliances aren't safe this can lead to Gas Leaks, Fires, Explosions and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

We use gas for cooking, heating and hot water. If unsafe gas appliances can have serious consequences.

If you do suspect an appliance is malfunctioning or if you smell gas, you should shut down the appliance immediately. Open all the doors and windows in the room and, if you can, turn off the gas supply at the main valve. Leave the property and call the National Gas Emergency Number, which is 0800 111 999. Don’t take any chances with gas.

No annual gas safety check: what to do

Despite the risks of hefty fines and potential imprisonment, many landlords are still failing to provide gas safety checks in rented properties all over the UK. A report by the Guardian found that one in three (34 per cent) tenants are currently living in a home with an out of date gas safety certificate, and that 14 per cent say their last inspection was well over 12 months ago (2).

By failing to conduct your annual gas safety check, your landlord is putting you and your family at risk. The gas safety certificate is intended to offer you some peace of mind that you are living in a safe, healthy home, and without this paperwork, you could be at risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, explosion or other catastrophes.

Infographic showing that 43% of Britons do not safety check gas appliances annually, 10% of appliances have never been checked.

43% of Britons do not safety check gas appliances annually, 10% of appliances have never been checked.

If you don’t currently have a CP12 gas safety certificate for the home you are living in, your first port of call is your landlord or managing agent. Ask to see a copy of the current CP12 certificate. If your landlord refuses or admits that it has not been done, you can make an official complaint by contacting the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using form LGSR1.

HSE have the ability to:

  • Force your landlord to undertake repairs
  • Impose fines and penalties for failing their responsibilities
  • Access the property for emergency repairs
  • Provide you with temporary accommodation if your home is not safe

You can also talk to your local authority who have a responsibility to ensure housing in their area is safe to inhabit. They may be able to offer further support and to mediate with your landlord for you.

For further support regarding your gas safety landlord’s responsibilities, and for help if you feel your landlord is infringing your rights as a tenant, you can seek advice from the UK’s housing charity, Shelter on 0808 800 4444.

References

1. 18 years of buy to let. Paragon group. [Online] 2017. http://www.paragon-group.co.uk/file_source/Files/MAIN/pdf/Press%20Releases/2014/18%20Years%20of%20BTL.pdf.

2. Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Legislation.gov.uk. [Online] 2017. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1998/2451/contents/made.

3. The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. Gov.UK. [Online] 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-explanatory-booklet-for-landlords/the-smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarm-england-regulations-2015-qa-booklet-for-the-private-rented-sector-landlords-and-tenants.

4. Landlords failing tenants over gas safety checks. The Guardian. [Online] https://www.theguardian.com/money/2011/sep/19/landlords-tenants-gas-safety-checks.

5. Are illegal gas fitters putting your property investments at risk? Property Investor Today. [Online] 2017. https://www.propertyinvestortoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2017/3/are-illegal-gas-fitters-putting-your-property-investments-at-risk.

6. Carbon monoxide – the silent killer. ROSPA. [Online] 2017. http://www.rospa.com/home-safety/advice/carbon-monoxide-safety/.

7. One in five part-time landlords and holiday home owners flout gas safety rules and run the risk of ‘unlimited’ fines. This is Money. [Online] 2016. http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/buytolet/article-3592928/One-five-time-landlords-holiday-home-owners-flout-gas-safety-rules.html.