The gas safety certificate law here in the UK is part of a set of rules called the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (1). These rules cover all aspects of using and fitting gas appliances in homes and business, including who can work on gas, how it should be metered and what maintenance should be carried out.
The gas safety certificate itself is also called a CP12. If you’re unsure of what your legal requirements are around this legislation, and how it applies to your property, here’s what you need to know.
The gas safety certificate law explained
A gas safety certificate is a document that confirms that appliances have been tested for safety as part of a gas safety inspection. Here in the UK, it is the law that all landlords and owners of commercial property have their gas appliances inspected annually to ensure they are safe and working properly (2).
Gas safety certificate law covers anyone who lets out all or part of a property for money, or payment in kind, including:
- Long-term lets, such as houses, flats and shared accommodation
- Student lets, boarding schools and university halls of residence
- Having a lodger, friend or family member paying to stay with you
- Renting out a holiday let, Airbnb, caravan or mobile home
- Having live in staff who stay in your home for free as part of their employment package
You don’t have to be a landlord to get a gas safety check. Anyone can ask a Gas Safe engineer to come to their home and carry out a check to give them peace of mind that their home and appliances are safe. However, under gas safety certificate law, your engineer will probably not provide you with a CP12 unless specifically requested.
What to expect from your CP12 certificate
To be legal and valid, your CP12 certificate should contain the following information:
- Your (the landlord’s) name and address, or potentially the name and address of your managing agent if they are dealing with this process
- The correct address of the property that the gas safety certificate is for
- The date that the inspection was carried out
- A description of each appliance and flue inspected, as well as details of their location in the property
- Details of any defects identified and the actions that have been taken to rectify them
- Confirmation that appliances are working correctly and that they are safe
- The name, signature and Gas Safe number of the person who did the CP12 inspection
- A reminder date for your next inspection
Before your gas engineer leaves the premises, do check your CP12 certificate contains all this information clearly and accurately, as it could invalidate your gas safety certificate status if it is not properly filed in.
What is required to get a gas safety certificate?
The idea of the gas safety certificate is to ensure your tenants or guests are in a safe and healthy environment while they are in your property. The CP12 check is designed to highlight any issues with the gas appliances or supply to the building, so that they can be attended to before they become a hazard.
In order to get a gas safety certificate, your appliances must be inspected by a Gas Safe registered engineer under the gas safety certificate law. You can find an engineer on the Gas Safe website if you don’t already know someone.
Do check they are currently registered, as research has shown there are thousands of unlicensed engineers operating in the UK, and that 65 per cent of the jobs they had done were considered to be unsafe (3).
The engineer will check any gas appliances in the building, including heaters, cookers and boilers. They will check for gas tightness, pressure, ventilation and safety cut outs, as well as making sure all flues are safe and free from blockages.
If any appliances fail the gas safety check, you will need to have the issue fixed before your CP12 certificate can be issued. If an appliance is dangerous, the engineer will ‘condemn’ it by placing a warning sticker on the appliance and disconnecting the gas supply. This appliance will need to be removed and replaced.
If everything passes the inspection, your engineer will provide your CP12 immediately. If you are not at the property during the inspection, they may send it to you in the post. You must provide a gas safe certificate copy to your tenants within 28 days of the inspection.
Information for short term lets
If you cannot give your gas safe certificate copy to your tenants because they are in high turnover, this information is relevant to you. Tenancies of less than 28 days, including in boarding houses, guest houses and holiday lets, will find it difficult to provide their gas safe certificate copy to every guest that comes into the property.
The solution here is to either display the certificate prominently, such as in a frame on the wall or attached to the back of the door, or to give every new guest or tenant a ‘welcome pack’ that includes their gas safe certificate copy. Ensure you have a strategy for providing the CP12 certificate to your guests, as you could be breaking the law if you don’t.
No gas safety certificate – the penalty
If you fail to get your gas safety certificate done in time, you could be risking a large fine and potentially imprisonment.
The no gas safety certificate penalty will depend on the nature and severity of the issue. For example, a landlord in the Midlands was prosecuted in 2012 after a gas cooker was found to be dangerous. Nobody was hurt, by the landlord was fined £2,000 and had to pay costs of £3,000. A different landlord was prosecuted in 2011 after tenants suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and he was found to have no gas safety certificate. Because the incident could have been fatal, he was fined £24,000 and had to pay costs of £6,000.
The ‘standard’ penalty is a fine of £6,000 per item and / or six months in prison (4). That means that if you have a typical rented home with a gas boiler, gas cooker and one gas fire, you would be fined for three items, so 3 x £6,000 which equals £18,000.
In HSE publications (5), it states that a breach of the rules, if referred to County Court, could result in imprisonment and ‘unlimited fines’, so if your breach is a serious one, you could be paying a lot more than that. If your noncompliance with gas safety certificate law results in loss of life, you could be facing a manslaughter charge.
Aside of this, for all the time your property is without a gas safety certificate, your buildings insurance is likely to be invalid, so your investment is unprotected against fire, flood and other disasters. All in all, it’s just not worth the risk of encountering any of these no gas safety certificate penalty possibilities, so just pay the fee and get it done.
1. Gas safety (installation and use) regulations 1998. legislation.gov.uk. [Online] 2017. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1998/2451/contents/made.
2. Safety in the installation and use of gas systems and appliances. HSE.Gov.UK. [Online] 2017. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l56.htm.
3. Are illegal gas fitters putting your property 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.
4. Penalties for non compliance with gas safety laws. PIMS.co.uk. [Online] http://www.pims.co.uk/penalties-non-compliance-gas-safety/.
5. A guide to landlords’ duties. HSE.gov.uk. [Online] 2017. http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg285.pdf.