Landlords are obliged to carry out Gas and Electrical Safety Inspections on an annual basis. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to £5,000. That’s the bad news. The good news is that once you have completed these inspections and received a clean bill of health for all the gas installations including the boiler, and the electrical appliances, you as a landlord can truly relax and not worry as you have fulfilled what is required of you. Most importantly you will have peace of mind that your tenant’s safety is in no way endangered – remember, faulty boilers can kill.
What the law states:
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
“Landlords are required by the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to ensure that all gas appliances (and any flues and pipework serving such appliances) are maintained in good order and that an annual safety check is carried out.
The landlord is required to ensure that the electrical system and any electrical appliances that are supplied as part of the rented property such as cookers, kettles, toasters, washing machines, dryers and immersion heaters are safe to use.”
I cannot stress the importance of ensuring that the gas boiler is in proper working condition. The lettings agent will require a safety certificate for both gas and electrics prior to letting the property and if the agent manages the property on the landlord’s behalf, the inspections will be carried out every year and a copy of both electrical and gas certificates sent to the tenant for their records. The tenant can demand that these inspections are done and that they have sight of the relevant certificates proving that both the boiler and appliances are safe to use.
My recommendation is to get a reliable company to install the boiler so that the work is under warranty. That way if anything goes wrong, the supplier is at fault and not the landlord. Secondly there are excellent companies around that carry out the annual inspections for both gas and electrics – these companies have been in business for many years and are well known to lettings agents who can vouch for the quality of their work. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Finally, I should add that given the age of most buildings in London, it is not uncommon for the pipework to give way and wreak havoc on the electrical and heating system – I once had a tenant whose apartment was flooded three times in less than two years from burst pipes in the flat above her and this in a very exclusive building in a very expensive part of town. Because the entire flat was flooded, the boiler and electric appliances were deemed unsafe to use. In such an instance, the landlord is required to find alternative housing for the tenant whilst they sort out any claims with the insurers (and carry out repairs to make the property inhabitable). In buildings which are managed and the landlord pays a service charge, the landlord should keep abreast of the any issues that are likely to affect his investment such as the condition and ongoing maintenance in the building and the condition of the plumbing and electrical supply.