SAFETY CERTIFICATES

Tenant awareness – know the obligations of your Landlord!

Essentially, a landlord is legally responsible for the safety of tenants in relation to gas safety. By law the landlord must: Repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in safe condition. They must also ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue.

Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 & 2018:
These Regulations apply to all gas appliances in the property, any associated gas pipework leading to the appliances and any flue leading from the appliances. They include portable heaters and other gas appliances fed by bottled gas, or from an external gas storage vessel at the property.

Certain categories of gas appliance cannot be installed in certain parts of the living accommodation of a dwelling house.

The Regulations apply to tenanted properties in both the private and public sector, and the landlord cannot ‘contract out’ of his obligations by stipulating on the lease that the tenant must arrange for the servicing of gas appliances. However, they do not apply where the lease is for a term over 7 years or to gas appliances installed or owned by the tenant.

Where the landlord’s property is managed by an agency, the management contract should specify who is responsible for the maintenance of gas appliances.

The person responsible for a premises shall not use or permit to be used a gas appliance that is suspected to be faulty or incorrectly installed. Where there is an escape of gas the person responsible for the premises must take reasonable steps to prevent further escape, and is obliged to inform the gas supplier immediately in gas continues to escape after the supply has been cut off.

Testing and Maintenance:
The Regulations require that an annual check is carried out in all rented properties, and specify the nature of the tests to be carried out during such checks.  Since April 2018, the annual gas safety check can now be carried out within two months before the due date and retain the existing 12 month expiry date.

All landlords must ensure that the gas fittings and flue are maintained in safe condition.

The owner of, or the person responsible for, the premises has a duty to keep a record of the gas appliances in the property, the dates of inspection, the defects identified and any remedial action taken. These records must be available to be inspected by any tenant who so requests and who may be affected by the use or operation of any appliance.

Previous, but still in force, regulations, state that the landlord must provide a copy of the record to any new tenants before they move into the property.

Gas Cooking Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1989:
These Regulations apply to all gas cooking equipment which is ‘supplied’ in the course of business. Any gas cooker, whether new or second hand, must be undamaged and working correctly. The supplier is also liable where there is a risk of injury due to an escape of gas, the stability of the appliance or the lack of appropriate English instructions.

Your landlord is required to ensure that the property and any electrical installation supplied within in it is safe under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, and maintained in a good state of repair.  From 1st July 2020 landlords in England will be required to have electrical fixed wiring installed and tested regularly to the current safety standards, and provide tenants with an electrical installation condition report (EICR) at the start of the tenancy (Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020).  Testing only applies to the fixed mains wiring and will be required to be carried out every five years, at which point, an updated EICR will need to be provided to the tenant.

Electrical Appliances:
A landlord has an ongoing duty to ensure that electrical installations are safe. Faulty appliances should be withdrawn and repaired. Unless otherwise specifically excluded within the tenancy agreement, a landlord is expected to take responsibility for the repairs and maintenance of items supplied with the property such as washing machines and other electrical appliances.

This responsibility does not extend to damage or other misuse by the tenant. If it is known by the landlord that a particular appliance is nearing the end of its working life and is beyond economical repair, this should be declared at the outset and prior to signing the tenancy agreement. Otherwise, a landlord might be obliged to ensure its continued availability in working order throughout the tenancy.

An energy performance certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement for anyone renting, selling or building a property in the United Kingdom.

An EPC gives a report on the energy efficiency of a property. The ratings run from G which is at the bottom end of the efficiency scale and depicted in red, up to A which is very efficient, and depicted in green. The objective of the certificate is to indicate how much it will cost on average to heat and light the property, as well as how much carbon dioxide it emits.

An EPC comes with a recommendation report which sets out any improvements that can be made to help reduce the energy bills for the property, and the potential rating that could be achieved if those recommendations were followed. These could be, for example, fitting cavity wall insulation; the installation of low energy lighting or replacing an ageing boiler with a modern energy efficient model.

The higher up the scale the rating, the lower the cost to run the property, and the more attractive it will be to those letting it. So if you are renting, then it is advisable to follow the recommendations wherever possible.

Landlords must provide potential tenants with an EPC. In all cases the certificates must be provided free of charge.

An EPC must be produced by a registered domestic energy assessor. You can find one of these on the EPC register. The EPC register stores existing certificates and allows you to search for an EPC by entering a reference number or a property address. All new certificates are placed on the register, and are valid for 10 years.

As of 1 April 2016, assured shorthold tenants and some other residential tenants in England and Wales have the right under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 to request consent from their landlords to make energy efficiency related improvements to the properties they are renting.

A landlord will not be permitted to unreasonably refuse consent providing the request complies with the Regulations. The cost of the improvements will be the tenant’s responsibility, and they must fall into the category of those that qualify for Green Deal funding, or be measures that connect the property to mains gas. Requests must be made in writing and landlords must serve a Full Response or a Counter Proposal.

From 1 April 2018, all rented property (both domestic and non-domestic) which is to have a new tenancy must have an EPC rating of at least “E”. This requirement also applies to all renewal tenancies to the same tenant for the same property on or after 1 April 2018. The duty is also triggered by any periodic tenancy arising on or after 1 April 2018 after the expiry of any fixed term because the duty is not only triggered by a renewal but also “an extension”.

From 1 April 2020, all domestic lettings (including existing) must achieve an “E” rating or better.

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