Do you own a rental property that frequently comes in contact with gas? If yes, this is the right place for you!
Having access to gas itself comes accompanied by many hazards and difficulties. To add to this, as a property owner, you’re also responsible for the safety of your tenants or anyone you rent out to. With such threats clouding your line – it is important to ensure the gas safety of your property.
Now, you might be confused as to how that can be accomplished. The first step is to get a gas safety certificate.
What is a Gas Safety Certificate?
A gas safety certificate, also called CP12, is a legal requirement in the United Kingdom for any property before being rented out. It is mandatory for all commercial as well as residential premises.
This certificate ensures the legal obligation of landlords to guarantee that any gas equipment on their property is safe, correctly installed, well-maintained, and fit for use. Therefore, a gas safety certificate is as important as property documents when renting out.
If your property has any appliance that requires access to a gas supply to produce heat, the CP12 is also mandatory for you. Such appliances include fireplaces, hobs, cookers, and units like pipes or fittings responsible for gas conduction.
Is Gas Safety Certificate a legal requirement?
Although ensuring the safety of their rental property is a moral obligation for all landlords. With this gas safety certificate, they’re legally bound to do so as well.
While all other expectations are stated in a social housing white paper, every tenant expects to be handed the CP12 and proof of ownership before any rental procedures are carried out. Similarly, it works in the landlord’s favour and helps avoid any legal actions against them in the latter.
This certificate also ensures that landlords have all gas appliances and modes of conduction inspected by a registered gas-safe engineer regularly every 12 months. Thus, within 28 days of inspection, the certificate is delivered to the tenant, paying deposits each year.
However, the landlord must also confirm that unregistered engineers are not employed to conduct the inspection. Unless registered gas-safe, the certificates produced by an engineer hold no validity.
How to get a Gas Safety Certificate
You can get a CP12 by making an appointment with a gas-safe registered engineer.
The engineers carry out an inspection of all gas appliances, as well as any pipes, fittings, or chimneys. It ensures that they have been installed correctly and do not harm the tenants. Often, they also test for gas leakage. Thus, once your gas safety check has been completed, your appliances are marked safe for use.
Usually, an engineer carries out the checks as enlisted below:
- Evaluate for any unauthorised use of gas devices
- Evaluate the appliances for gas tightness
- Evaluate the standing and working gas pressure
- Evaluate the gas pressure against the data plate of the manufacturer
- Evaluate essential ventilation
- Evaluate the removal of waste products from combustion
- Evaluate the safety devices (ensure proper functioning)
However, if your property fails on any evaluation, the landlord has to repair all the malfunctions. Typically, these repairs can be carried out by the engineer performing the inspection, but you can opt for someone else, provided a registered engineer also conducts the second inspection.
Also, when you get appliances installed by a registered gas-safe engineer, you receive the landlord gas safety certificate at the installation time. Thus, you can save both; money and time by getting the initial installation done by registered engineers instead of filing for an inspection later.
If you’re finding it difficult to book an appointment, many online websites are available for your assistance. They send gas-safe registered engineers to your location for the evaluations.
Is a Gas Safety Certificate Required for a Boiler?
A gas safety certificate is a legal requirement for landlords in the United Kingdom to supply to their tenants to ensure all the gas appliances and relative pipes or fittings are safe to use. Even if you’re practising corporate let or unsure about the letting type you will offer – a CP12 remains mandatory.
Therefore, if you own a boiler at the property you’re renting out, regardless of the type of tenancy, you are legally required to have a CP12 for it. It ensures the gas safety of the place, and hence, tenants are much more comfortable and at ease.
On the contrary, if you own a boiler at your own place, there is no such legal obligation to have a gas safety certificate and the council will not charge you for not complying with regulations.
It is still recommended that you get it inspected to prevent any potential risks, such as carbon monoxide poisoning. Such evaluations also help ensure the safety of your house and family members.
Gas Safety Regulations in The UK
The gas safety regulations 1998 were drafted to ensure that all gas boilers are installed safely. Following are some important points stated in the regulations:
- Only a Gas Safe registered engineer can do work related to the field.
- The engineer shall ensure the gas safety of the appliance.
- The location of boiler installation should have support, no surrounding blockages, and be corrosion free.
- The pipework installation should be carried out efficiently and safely.
- Proper ventilation should be ensured.
- A registered engineer should inspect all gas appliances and fittings at least once a year.
- If a gas leak is suspected, the gas supply should be turned off immediately, and the supplier should be notified.
Why is gas safety important?
Negligence of gas safety can have effects ranging from minor inconveniences to major damages. Therefore, the following are a few such hazards frequently observed at places with compromised gas safety.
When there is a leak in an appliance, gas line, or other fittings – the gas starts to leak. It can also happen if any of the above-listed devices are damaged. This gas then oozes out and flows to nearby areas.
The major component of natural gas is methane, a hydrocarbon with one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. High levels of methane in the surrounding air lower the oxygen levels in the air. This, if breathed in, can cause nausea, vomiting, mood changes, headache, etc. In severe cases, it can also result in unconsciousness.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Another component of natural gas is carbon monoxide. It can cause serious health complications if it is inhaled. Since it is odourless, people are often poisoned slowly over days before noticing any effects.
Some common symptoms can be prolonged sickness, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, muscle pain, fatigue and weakness. If such symptoms are prolonged, your gas safety might be at risk. Get yourself and your place tested as soon as possible.
Fires, explosions and more
Compromised gas safety can result in fires or explosions that may be minor or, on the contrary, very damaging. Gas leaks then mix with air and increase the air pressure. Upon any sort of spark, the gas ignites and causes an explosion.
Having said this, there are fire safety laws in place too to try and prevent dangerous fires as well as gas safety.
Just as the negligence of electrical safety can cause harmful injuries or explosions – the same can happen if gas safety is ignored. Therefore, it should be ensured that no such compromises are made.
How to Establish The Gas Safety of Appliances?
One can always ensure that their appliances are safe for use by looking out for any unusual signs. If any of the incidents stated below occur, consider it a warning that your gas safety might have been harmed.
If the appliance is not working properly, there is a chance that the fault might be related to the gas supply.
A few examples could be the appearance of black or coloured marks around the exterior or the pilot light turning off frequently without any obvious reason. Another fault might be yellow flames instead of blue ones for appliances like boilers or cookers.
Tips to ensure gas safety
Avoid substitution of appliances
People often try to save time or money by substituting one appliance for another. For example, using a cooker to heat a room. To ensure gas safety, such substitution should be avoided at all costs.
Notice any unusual signs
As advised earlier, look for any signs or warnings indicating the appliance is not working properly. Then proceed to get them checked immediately. This can save you from potential harm to your gas safety.
Methane and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide and methane are both major components of natural gas. Therefore, at times of leakage, they are present at higher levels in the surrounding air. However, inhalation of both can be very damaging. It is recommended to look out for any prolonged symptoms that indicate the latter: headaches, nausea, breathlessness, fatigue, etc.
Annual gas checks
Every year, gas checks should be carried out along with immediate repair of any worn-out components of the appliances to ensure uncompromised gas safety.
Gas safe registered engineers
It must be ensured that unregistered engineers are not employed to conduct the inspection. Unless registered gas-safe, the certificates produced by an engineer hold no validity. Consequently, the inspection results would not be trusted.
As per the use class order, the shift from one use to another within a use is not considered development. Therefore, one can do property planning efficiently. If you rent out places, you can reach your goals by proving that you know and practice the responsibility of being a landlord.
A gas safety certificate is an adequate way to do this. This ensures that you follow the law and makes the tenants more likely to rent out your place, making your property planning much more successful.
A place, however, can only be deemed safe if the welfare and well-being of the occupants are uncompromised. Such can only happen when gas safety, along with all other areas, is ensured.