The Gas Safety, Installation and Use Regulations (GSIUR) are part of the Gas Act which is currently active within the UK and covers the legal requirements of landlords and property owners. This article has been written exclusively for residential landlords and their tenants and aims to explain the basic legal duties of both parties when it comes to gas and gas burning appliances.
In short, all landlords that let residential properties are required by law to have their gas appliances and any gas installation pipework checked by a registered Gas Safe Engineer to ensure that the appliance(s) and installation are in a safe condition. This check is often referred to in the gas industry as a Landlord Gas Safety Inspection or simply Gas Safety Check.
Landlords will then be issued a certificate of safety by the inspecting engineer that declares the current safety condition of all appliances at that property and where appropriate the integrity of the gas pipework.
This inspection must be carried out at least once every 12 months or whenever gas pipework is modified or appliances are added or removed. A copy of the inspection certificate must be made available to the tenant within 14 days of the inspection or prior to taking on a new tenancy for any such property. The landlord must then ensure that they retain each safety certificate for a minimum period of 2yrs (Although it is widely considered sensible to retain all certificates for the duration of the installation).
It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the engineer carrying out the inspection is registered and approved to do so and that inspections are arranged with the tenant in a way that prevents subsequent inspections exceeding the 12 month period since the last inspection. It’s also the landlord’s responsibility to keep their gas installations and appliances in a safe condition.
Gas pipework should, where possible be tested to ensure that there are no gas leaks. The inspection will also look at earthing, general condition of the pipework, method of installation and the type and positioning of pipework and fittings. The gas meter will need to be accessible and this part of the inspection doesn’t take very long at all. Normally no longer than 20 minutes.
All gas burning appliances must be inspected, the only time that they may be left off of the Gas Safety Inspection paperwork is in the event that a gas appliance is present, but has no gas pipework supplying it. Landlord owned appliances must be tested for gas safety, whereas tenant owned appliances (Normally cookers) will normally just have a visual inspection carried out on them to ensure that nothing is obviously wrong.
Depending on the appliance(s) installed within a property; this part of the inspection takes between 15 and 40 minutes. Engineers will be looking for:
- General, visual condition
- Ventilation requirements and method of provision
- Condition and performance of any fitted flue, along with where it terminates
- The correct operation of critical safety devices such as thermostats, gas valves and flame monitoring systems
- The amount of fuel gas being consumed
- General condition of the flame (Flame picture)
- The quality of the combustion process and what exhaust gasses are being produced
- Signs of gasses entering back into the property and whether or not an appliance is “spilling”
Type and design of any particular appliance dictates how these tests are completed and what results are trying to be achieved. When a satisfactory result is obtained, the Gas Safety Inspection paperwork will be marked with the results and the outcome as to whether or not the appliance is to be considered as safe.
Landlords are not required by law to have their appliances serviced and a Gas Safety Inspection is not to be considered as a service. It’s a bit like a car MOT, but for boilers. If you had your car MOT’d, you wouldn’t say that it had been serviced, would you?
As such, landlords will often ask for a service to be done at the same time as the Gas Safety Inspection as it makes quite a bit of financial sense and will help to keep tenants happy and provide some protection of the investment made in the form of the heating system at the property.
It is also noteworthy that although landlords are not required to have a service completed; the wording of the actual Gas Installation and Use Regulations implies that landlords have a duty to keep gas appliances maintained. A basic landlord gas safety inspection would not really be defined as “maintenance”, after all it is a test only affair.
Carbon monoxide alarms
As a company, as a gas engineer and as an individual; I can only say that we strongly promote and recommend the use of audio alert Carbon Monoxide alarms; you wouldn’t think twice about a smoke alarm, so what’s the difference with Carbon Monoxide? None in our eyes.
However; that said… Carbon Monoxide alarms are not a legal requirement for landlords at this present moment in time within England. Northern Ireland and Scotland do have laws regarding CO alarms, but check with your local engineer as London at present has no requirement put on landlords.
N4 Gas will always advise landlords if there is no CO alarm on site or if there is one but it is either at the end of its life or if it is non-functional.
Further advice for landlords & tenants
We are happy to answer questions or give compliancy advice to all of our clients when it comes to ensuring that their tenants are safe and that landlord legal obligations are fulfilled. Simply get in touch with us.
You can also find a wealth of knowledge at the following sites: