Catherine Hunt, associate at Arnolds Keys, discusses the importance of having a valid Gas Safety Certificate.

Winter has finally arrived in Norfolk this week, with the mercury hitting negative territory, and tenants everywhere are firing up their central heating and gas fires in an attempt to stay warm. 
So it’s a very opportune time to talk about gas safety.

Ensuring that the gas appliances and the boiler in your property are safe is obviously important, for a number of reasons. Chief amongst these is the safety of your tenants. 

Quite apart from the legal obligations imposed upon a landlord, no-one would want the responsibility for any health issues possibly arising from neglecting gas safety.

Eastern Daily Press: Catherine Hunt, associate at Arnolds KeysCatherine Hunt, associate at Arnolds Keys (Image: Arnolds Keys)

Over and above the moral imperative, the legal implications are potentially serious. Landlords who neglect gas safety risk fines and, in severe cases, imprisonment. 

There are civil implications as well: not having an up-to-date Gas Safety Certificate, and not giving a copy to your tenant, could mean you cannot serve a Section 21 notice if you want your property back.

A recent case has underlined this. Despite the fact that the property in question had a brand-new boiler and that a gas safety engineer conducted a thorough safety check after installation, no Gas Safety Certificate or Building Regulations Compliance Certificate was issued to the tenant. As a result, the County Court ruled that a subsequent Section 21 notice was invalid.

The landlord was thus unable to take back possession of their property. Even the date on which the Gas Safety Certificate is issued is crucial. 

Quite apart from keeping your tenant safe, obtaining a Gas Safety Certificate will also safeguard your property. The certificate will only be issued if the boiler is considered, from testing, to be safe. Regular maintenance and servicing will assist with this. 

This is also the best way of preventing awkward breakdowns in the depths of winter, leading to cold, unhappy tenants and big repair bills. Bear in mind also that the lack of a Gas Safety Certificate could have implications for your buildings insurance.

Gas safety is simply too important to be neglected; but likewise, undertaking the administration involved in ensuring your Gas Safety Certificate is correctly dated, up-to-date and copied to the tenant is vital to avoid problems at a later date. 

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