The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 deal with landlord’s duties to make sure gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants are safe.
Maintenance: pipework, appliances and flues must be maintained in a safe condition and be accessible for inspection at all times. New regulations came into effect in January 2013 that requires gas flues to be inspected by a registered gas safe engineer. No visual access can result in the boiler being shut down / off and classified as ‘at risk’ by the engineer.
Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
The frequency of Gas safety checks: a 12 monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance / flue and a record of the annual gas safety check must be provided to tenants within 28 days of the check in being completed.
With any new tenancy; the certificate must be made available prior to the tenants moving in. Landlords are obliged to keep copies of the gas safety record for two years.
The new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 , 20 March 2019. The Act is that it gives tenants the right to sue their landlords if their property is in such poor condition, that it is ‘not fit for human habitation’.
In the past, tenants have only had the right to sue if the property was in ‘disrepair’ (under s.11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985). However, if the property was not in ‘disrepair’ (ie if nothing was actually broken or damaged) but just in a very poor condition, then tenants had no right to do anything.
They were dependent on Local Authorities to take action, maybe after the Council had carried out a Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) inspection to assess whether any of the 29 possible “hazards” (including many things, from Damp and Cold, to poor Security, Asbestos and Trip hazards) were present at the property.
In determining whether a house is ‘unfit’, the Bill includes issues that were not covered by a landlord’s legal repair responsibilities, such as damp caused by design defects (lack of ventilation) rather than disrepair, and infestation (rodents, insects, bed bugs) and further adds to legal requirements already pre existing within the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) which was introduced by the Housing Act 2004 (inforce since 2006).
Landlords of both social and privately rented properties must make sure that their properties meet certain standards at the beginning and throughout a tenancy.
If they fail to do this, tenants have the right to take legal action which includes fixed financial penalties of up to £30,000 and banning orders – possibly for life – for the most serious offenders so there is a real need to ensure each and every rental property (social or private) is safe.
This means that the 29 hazards will need to be assessed; a risk category assigned (where applicable) and then any remedial action to address those risks are implemented to ensure the safety of the tenant and their visitors.