August 10, 2023

Is It Illegal To Let A Property Without A Gas Safety Certificate?

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Whether you are a commercial or residential landlord, you must fulfill various legal obligations while entering into a lease contract with a tenant. The law binds you to ensure the safety of tenants against any possible risk associated with using electricity and gas on your property.

Different inspections and certifications are related to using energy resources on a property. The gas safety check is one of the most important things a landlord needs to do on his property annually. Non-compliance with this legal requirement is considered a criminal offense. Hence a landlord needs to have complete knowledge of the gas safety certificate.

What is a Gas Safety Check?

The gas safety check is a process of inspecting gas installations on a property. All the gas appliances, pipelines, boilers, flues, gas fires, and gas cookers are thoroughly examined for any possible defect in their installation or performance.

You need to hire the services of a qualified and registered gas safety engineer to conduct such periodic inspections. In the UK, the "Gas Safe Register" is an organization that is responsible for the registration of qualified gas engineers. Only the engineers on their official website are authorized to conduct the gas safety inspection.

After successful inspection, the engineer will give you a certificate called a Gas Safety Certificate or Gas Safety Record. It is also known as a homeowner's gas safety certificate.

When do you need to do the Gas Safety Inspection?

A gas safety inspection is required to get a gas safety certificate. The certificate is valid for one year. That means you must inspect your property for gas safety at least once a year. That is a legal requirement. But it is advisable to keep a close watch on the performance of gas appliances. If something abnormal in their performance is observed or there’s a gas leakage, you must call the gas engineer to check and fix the faults.

Apart from an annual inspection, you must also get it done when letting your property to a new tenant. Although the current gas safety certificate might still be valid for a certain period, it is better to get a complete inspection to ensure the safety of the occupants before leasing out the property to a new tenant.

Similarly, when you construct or buy a new property and intend to rent it out, you must do a complete gas safety inspection before handing it over to the tenants.

Is it illegal to let a property without a gas safety certificate?

Yes, it is illegal. The prevailing law binds the landlord to get a valid gas safety certificate for his property before letting it. So, it is clear that you must have your property checked for gas safety before offering it for tenancy. If you fail to do so, it will violate the rules and regulations.

Relevant Law

The relevant law is "The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. It imposes a responsibility upon the landlords to ensure the safety of the tenants against the risks associated with using gas on their property.

Amendment in the relevant law

The law was further amended in 2018, which is referred to as “Gas Safety Regulations (Installation and Use) – (Amendment) 2018 (The Regulations)”. This amendment is about the expiry date of a gas safety certificate. Before this amendment, the expiry date was considered 12 months from this certificate's issuance date. After the amendment the date of expiry remains constant. That means if the current certificate is going to expire on 31 July 2023 but you get it renewed on 2nd of June 2023, the new expiry date will be 31 July 2024 instead of 2 June 2024 (as it was thought to be before this amendment).

What happens if you let a property without a gas safety certificate?

Letting a property without having a valid gas safety certificate is illegal, hence considered a serious criminal offense. The consequences could be serious, involving penalties and even some sort of imprisonment. The situation might be even more serious if any accident occurs due to a faulty gas appliance on your property.

So, ensure you have a valid gas safety certificate when letting your property. It may cost a little but it will save you from serious legal proceedings.

Conclusion

Letting your property without having a valid gas safety certificate is illegal and considered a serious violation of prevailing laws in the UK. The safety of the occupants of your property is one of the prime responsibilities the law imposes on you. Hence, your first and foremost obligation is to get your property inspected for gas safety and get the gas safety certificate before leasing it out.

It is also your legal responsibility to give your current tenants a copy of the certificate within 4 weeks after the inspection.

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