Find out how you can keep your tenants safe with gas safety certification and regular maintenance, and ensure their gas heating is running efficiently.
Scotland is home to an increasingly large number of people living in privately rented properties, many of which rely on gas heating.
14 % of households rented their accommodation from the private sector... this had increased by six percentage points since 2001.
Source: Scotland’s Census
While modern boilers and gas appliances are safer than ever before, the risk of injury or even death to occupants is sadly very real. The Carbon Monoxide and Gas Safety Society report an average of 30 deaths per year across the UK, with a further 241 being injured. However, they also point out that because there is no automatic testing for CO poisoning at the time of death, a considerable number could be slipping through the net and going unreported.
In this article, we will cover what you need to do as a private landlord to keep your tenants safe. Perfect if you’re new to renting out properties with gas heating or just need to be sure you’re doing all you can do as a responsible landlord to protect your property and its occupants.
Your responsibilities as a landlord
As a landlord, you must ensure there is no risk to the occupants of your rental properties due to the gas supply, and that all pipework, flues and appliances are installed and maintained correctly.
Let’s take a look at the steps you should take to meet this legal (under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998) and moral responsibility:
Gas Safety Certificate
What is it?
A Gas Safety Certificate (or ‘CP12’) confirms that all gas appliances in a property are safe and free from danger. It is a legal requirement for landlords, owners of holiday homes and those who let rooms in their building.
This certificate is a legal requirement, and each individual certificate has to be renewed every year. Without a certificate, you risk a hefty fine, and the appliances may be unsafe for tenants to use.
Who needs to get one?
It’s not just private landlords who need a CP12 every year. You may need to get one if you are:
- Running a hotel, bed and breakfast, hostel or Airbnb
- Responsible for student accommodation
- Operating a boarding school
- Managing a holiday let
- Running a mobile home, caravan or temporary accommodation that you let out
How do I get one?
You will need to arrange a Gas Safety Certificate inspection from a Gas Safe registered engineer. You must ensure it’s always a Gas Safe registered and qualified engineer carrying out gas work or a gas safety check. Landlords are legally required to make sure this is the case.
The inspection is a comprehensive safety audit of all components of the gas heating system within the property, including:
- If any harmful fumes are leaking from the flue, boiler or other appliance
- Signs of wear
- Test the gas pressure
- Ensure there are no carbon monoxide leaks
- Whether the boiler is safe to use
- Security of the gas supply at the meter
Appliances owned by your tenants aren’t your responsibility - although it’s still up to you to ensure the safety of any connecting flues.
Once this has been done, you will be given a Landlord Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety certificate with details of all the checks carried out.
How much will the inspection and certificate cost?
The cost of your Gas Safety check and certificate will depend on the Gas Safe registered business that carries out your annual gas safety check. They can cost anywhere from £70.00 to £150.00, depending on the property’s size, the number of appliances, and overall complexity of the heating system.
Contact our friendly team to get a free quote and arrange an inspection.
How often do I need an inspection?
You will need a new inspection and certificate every year.
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 ten 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.
Impact of Covid-19 on gas safety inspections
During the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, there is a balance between ensuring people, including the vulnerable, are protected from possibly fatal risks arising from carbon monoxide exposure or gas explosion, and protecting people from the virus.
Current guidance from HM Government states that work can be carried out in people’s homes provided that the Gov.uk guidance on staying alert and safe social distancing is followed.
You may find that gas heating businesses like Kingdom Gas are busier due to the impact of Covid-19 and you may have to wait longer than usual for an appointment. We recommend booking well in advance of your certificate expiry date to ensure an inspection can be carried out in time. This will prevent your existing certificate from expiring.
Find out more about our approach to gas safety during the pandemic.
What if I can’t get an inspection completed on time?
If you cannot engage a registered gas engineer to carry out the work due to a shortage of available engineers, you will be expected to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law.
The Gas Safe Register website has detailed Covid-19 advice for landlords.
What happens if I fail the safety check?
If the gas safety inspection results in a failure for the boiler or a gas appliance in your rental property, you should address the issue or issues as soon as possible. The engineer will advise you what you need to do next, whether that’s a one-off repair, replacement component or, in the worst-case scenario, a new boiler or appliance.
Your tenants will appreciate you dealing with this problem immediately, and you will have peace of mind knowing it has been dealt with too.
Once the issue/s have been addressed, you can arrange another gas safety inspection.
Keep a record of each safety check
Following the annual gas safety check and receipt of your Gas Safety certificate, you’ll need to provide a record of this check to your tenants. This is known as a Landlord Gas Safety Record.
By law, you must give a copy of your Landlord Gas Safety Record to your current tenants within 28 days of the gas safety check. You must provide new tenants with a copy at the start of their tenancy.
As a private landlord, you’ll need to ensure that all gas pipework, appliances, chimneys and flues are kept in a safe condition.
A yearly service of your gas heating system will ensure the boiler, pipework, appliances and other components in your rental property are in good working condition. It’s a great way to spot any potential problems before they become major issues.
A service will consist of a full check of a gas appliance and alongside the checks listed above they will:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and carry out equipment specific actions such as:
- The removal of components for cleaning
- The replacement of serviceable parts such as seals/gaskets
- Cleaning of the heat exchanger and any flueways
- Assess the physical condition of the appliance
- Check the state of any air vents and any flues to ensure they have not deteriorated
- Carry out combustion performance tests (where applicable) to confirm the safe and efficient operation of the appliance
- Undertake any necessary remedial work (your engineer will inform you of any additional costs)
- Alert you to any issues found during the service
An annual service is often a mandatory requirement to ensure the warranty on boilers and water heaters is valid.
Ensure your insurance is up to date
Landlord insurance is usually split into buildings and contents insurance. You can also add liability insurance or loss of rental income cover to protect yourself.
This insurance covers the cost of any repairs if your rental property is damaged by fire or flood, or by your tenants.
Arrange suitable cover
Landlord cover provides financial protection against expensive, unexpected maintenance and emergency repairs to gas appliances in your rental properties. This is especially relevant if you have any slightly older gas boilers in those properties.
Other ways to ensure your tenants heating is safe, efficient and cost-effective
Beyond the mandatory gas safety inspection and certification, there’s a lot more you can do to ensure your rental property is safe and offers efficient and cost-effective heating for your tenants.
Establish a gas emergency procedure
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.
Provide a carbon monoxide (CO) detector
In Scotland, a private landlord must provide a carbon monoxide (CO) detector where there is a fixed combustion appliance, but this does not apply to appliances solely used for cooking.
Fire safety protection
Make sure your rental property has smoke alarms, a heat alarm and fire extinguishers. All alarms should interlink. Alarms can be mains powered with battery backup or use long-life lithium batteries that cannot be changed. The battery alarms must be a sealed or tamper-proof type. Read the guidance on fire detection in private rented properties on gov.scot.
Take regular meter readings
Take meter readings regularly so neither you or your tenants have to pay more than they should.
System cleans and powerflushing
Many boiler breakdowns are caused by dirty water and sludge within the boiler system. When this builds up, it can have a considerable effect on how well your boiler runs and how efficiently it performs.
Cleansing and powerflushing will improve the central heating system in your rental property, and help your tenants use less energy and keep their home warm.
We recommend a powerflush for your system every five years.
We know there’s a lot to think about and do as a private landlord, especially if you own multiple properties. But all that time and effort into gas heating safety will be worth it.
After all, warm and happy tenants are more likely to pay their rent on time, look after your property, and pass the word around when you are looking to rent out another property in the future.
Need help or advice from experienced, Gas Safe registered engineers?
We supply, service, repair and install gas boilers and central heating systems for private landlords right across the East Coast of Scotland.
Contact us about your rental property’s next gas safety inspection, annual service or whatever else you might need to keep your tenants safe and warm.
Call our friendly team on 0800 3899 463 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm) for a free quote, or use our easy online form to get a free quote.