As no doubt you will be aware, being a landlord comes with many responsibilities including complying a range of legislation from health and safety to tenant rights.
One of the most important tenant’s rights is that a leased property should be kept in a safe and good condition, and the consequences of breaching such a tenant’s right can be severe, leading to fines or even personal prosecution.
In this guide, we will explore the legal responsibilities that landlords have when they lease out properties with gas boilers and appliances.
What are the Landlord’s Responsibilities in Relation to Gas Safety?
As mentioned, landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their tenants. In relation to gas safety this means that the following must be undertaken:
- Ensure that gas pipework, flues and appliances are in a safe condition when a new tenant moves in and are maintained
- Arrange and ensure that annual gas safety checks are completed on each appliance and flue
- Keep thorough and up to date records of such checks taking place
What is Involved with Annual Gas Safety checks?
Each appliance and flue should be both visually checked, as well as a number of machine-based tests being performed to ensure that the appliance is working both safely and effectively.
Boiler tests involve checking that pressure levels are at the manufacturer suggested levels and that all internal parts are in good working order. In addition, the engineer will also undertake tests to check the flue for any dangerous gases as well as report on the condition of any items, quoting for any repairs.
All inspections should only be undertaken by registered Gas Safe Engineers.
How Often Should a Boiler be Serviced?
All gas appliances should be serviced annually to ensure that they are safe for use.
Boiler Safety Concerns
One of the biggest health and safety concerns with a boiler is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to the property inhabitants. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be deducted by the sense of smell or taste and therefore is deadly due to a lack of warning that the harmful gas is leaking.
Breathing in high levels of carbon monoxide gas can kill a person within two hours, as once the gas has mixed with the red blood cells inside a person’s body, a reaction takes place that causes the blood to stop carrying oxygen.
Unfortunately, the NHS report that there are on average 60 deaths a year in England and Wales from carbon monoxide poisoning, and there has been a link determined between deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning and faulty boilers.
Due to the risks involved, it is highly recommended that properties are fitted with carbon monoxide alarms, along with regular servicing to test for any carbon monoxide leaks.
Why Boiler Servicing is Important
As we have briefly discussed, a boiler service’s primary purpose is a health and safety check, however, there are other benefits from regular servicing as follows:
- Safety Matters – The safety of a boiler cannot be established by a visual check undertaken by a non-professional and therefore a full service should be completed and documented on an annual basis including checking the internal parts of the boiler for any signs of wear and tear or damage. As discussed, only a Gas Safe engineer should be undertaking boiler servicing.
- Identification of Potential Issues – Another benefit of regular boiler servicing is to monitor the condition of the boiler including the internal parts and to undertake regular maintenance such as cleaning and testing, with an aim of avoiding breakdowns and prolonging the life of the boiler. Also, by noting that parts are soon due to be replaced, the expenditure can be planned for which can help a landlord with their cash flow.
- Efficiency & Keeping Fuel Costs Down – During a boiler service, the Gas Safe engineer will ensure that a boiler is working efficiently, according to the manufacturer’s guidance and make any adjustments needed, which can prolong the life of the boiler and avoid costly call-outs in the case of emergency breakdowns.
Undertaking such tests can also aid fuel efficiency, which may not be of interest to a landlord in the first instance as fuel costs are likely to be borne by the property’s tenants, however, should fuel efficiency become a problem, tenants can complain to the landlord.
- Manufacturer Warranty – If a boiler within a landlord’s property is fairly new and still under warranty, often the boiler manufacturer will stipulate that the annual boiler servicing is completed, otherwise the warranty can be invalid. In addition, the Gas Safe engineer should complete the service in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines which are usually found on the manufacturer’s website.
- Landlord Compliance – As we have discussed, Landlords must comply with the health and safety and legal responsibilities required to rent out a property. Ensuring that a property is safe and well maintained is a requirement for landlords including arranging and documenting regular servicing for all gas appliances including boilers.
In addition to complying with current legislation, landlord’s must also keep up to date with any forthcoming legislation changes, ensuring any new requirements are met before the implementation of any new rules.
Gas boiler service legal requirements summary
There are legal requirements for landlords to maintain their properties including keeping sufficient records of regular servicing for all gas appliances.
Boiler servicing is not particularly a time-consuming process, as it should only take around 30 minutes to complete, however obviously arranging a Gas Safe engineer to attend a property and updating the tenants may take more time!
Servicing a boiler is not an overly expensive task. Commonly a boiler service is between £50 and £180 depending on the type of boiler and whereabouts in the country the rental property is situated. As mentioned, the risks of non-compliance with the legal duties of being a landlord can easily out-way the costs of routine testing and therefore it is highly recommended that such servicing appointments are not put off.