Ultimate guide to gas safety and landlord gas safety certificates - Total Landlord Insurance

September 14, 2023
Total Landlord Insurance
Ultimate guide to gas safety and landlord gas safety certificates - Total Landlord Insurance

Read an interactive and user-friendly version of this guide below.

As a landlord, you have to comply with a lot of health and safety regulations and gas safety is one of the most important.

If you fail to meet the standards for gas safety in your property, you could be fined thousands of pounds and even face a criminal conviction and prison time.

The good news is, there’s plenty of guidance out there to help you stay on the right side of the law.

Here, we’ve put together everything you need to know about gas safety regulations, so you can understand your legal obligations and, most importantly, how to keep your tenants safe.

What are a landlord’s legal responsibilities for gas safety?

If you’re letting a property with gas appliances – such as a boiler, cooker or gas fire – you must comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

You have three main legal responsibilities:

  1. Have an annual gas safety check carried out on each appliance and flue
  2. Keep a record of each safety check and provide your tenants with copies
  3. Carry out the necessary maintenance and repairs to ensure all gas pipework, flues and appliances remain in a safe condition

Gas safety in rental property

What is an annual gas safety check?

Each year, a Gas Safe registered engineer must carry out a check to make sure all the gas appliances you have provided in your property are working properly and your tenants aren’t at risk. That includes making sure that:

  • The appliance is operating at the correct pressure
  • Gases aren’t escaping
  • The flues are clear
  • All safety devices, such as cut-out devices, are working correctly
  • Any brackets securing an appliance are in good condition

Although the annual check doesn’t include the installation pipework, the Gas Safe Register and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommend that you also ask the engineer to:

  • Test for tightness on the whole gas system, including installation pipework
  • Visually examine the pipework, as far as possible

Note: Only the appliances you have provided need to be checked. You are not responsible for the safety of any gas appliances belonging to your tenants.

Once the engineer has made their checks, they will give you the Landlord Gas Safety Record documentation (also known as a ‘gas safety certificate’). This lists the results of the safety checks and any actions taken or needed to fix them.

What is a landlord gas safety certificate or CP12?

A ‘landlord gas safety certificate’ is simply a commonly-used term for the Landlord Gas Safety Record document.

But there’s a little bit more to ‘CP12’…

It’s an abbreviation of ‘CORGI Proforma 12’. The Council for Registered Gas Installers (CORGI) was the UK gas safety regulatory body until April 2009, when it was replaced by the Gas Safe Register.

For carrying out checks on rental properties, CORGI engineers were replaced by Gas Safe engineers, and the new Gas Safety Record document came into effect – although many people in the industry still call it a CP12!

While the CORGI CP12 is still in use and has been modernised and updated, you’ll find that many engineers now use the Gas Safe version of the documentation. ‘Gas Safety Certificate’ is simply a commonly-used term for the Landlord Gas Safety Record document.

Booking an annual gas safety check

To give landlords enough time to book an engineer and arrange access to the property, the Government has allowed some flexibility around the date of the annual check.

This means you can have the check carried out up to two months before the due date – and still keep the original expiry date.

Gas safety landlord responsibility

Will my managing agent organise the gas safety check?

If you’ve taken a ‘fully managed’ service with an agent, they should handle everything relating to health and safety checks for you – including organising the annual gas safety check.

Just make sure that their responsibilities – and therefore legal liabilities – are clearly stated in your contract with them.

As the landlord, it is ultimately your legal responsibility to make sure your property is let legally and safely, so always use a professional managing agent that’s a member of one of the self-regulating industry bodies, such as Propertymark, RICS or UKALA . That way, you can be confident in the quality and integrity of their service.

Even if an agent isn’t a member of an industry body, they are still required by law to join a government authorised consumer redress scheme, such as the Property Redress Scheme (PRS), part of the HFIS group.

That gives you peace of mind that if you have any complaint about your agent, there is an independent third party that will mediate and resolve the matter.

Your agent should arrange the engineer’s visit, ensure a copy of the Gas Safety Record is provided to the tenant and file the original document. It’s a good idea to ask them to send you a copy as well, so you know everything’s in order.

How much is a gas safety certificate?

The price will vary, depending on the location of your rental property and the company you use, but the UK average is around £80. We recommend getting a few quotes from local companies to make sure you’re not spending more than you need to.

How long does a gas safety check take?

It depends on the engineer and whether there are any issues. Assuming everything is okay, it should take around 20-30 minutes, but if repairs are needed, it might take a couple of hours.

How long does a gas safety certificate last?

A gas safety certificate lasts for 12 months. Each year you need to ensure a new check is carried out at some point in the two months before the certificate expires.

Do I have to give the gas safety certificate to my tenants?

You are required by law to give a copy of the gas safety certificate to your tenants.

After each annual gas safety check, the engineer will give you (or your agent) the completed Landlord Gas Safety Record. A copy of this document must be given to new tenants before they move in and to existing tenants within 28 days of the check. If this isn’t done, you may be unable to issue a Section 21 notice to evict them.

You must also keep the record of each check for at least two years.

General maintenance of appliances and pipework

The annual gas safety check is different to a gas service, which is a much more in-depth inspection.

Gas appliances and flues should be serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you don’t have access to these, the Gas Safe Register recommends you have a service every 12 months, unless one of their registered engineers advises otherwise.

Landlord gas maintenance

What could happen if gas appliances are not properly maintained?

If gas appliances are not properly maintained and you don’t comply with your legal duty to keep the gas fittings and appliances in a safe condition, the worst-case scenario is the death of a tenant.

For instance, if flues and pipework become blocked, gases and fumes can’t escape properly to the outside. That can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide inside the property, which can be fatal.

Carbon monoxide can’t be smelled or tasted, meaning it often goes undetected.

And the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning aren’t always obvious, especially during low-level exposure, when it could be mistaken for food poisoning or flu. Common symptoms include:

  • A tension-type headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling and being sick
  • Tiredness and confusion
  • Stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing

Carbon monoxide alarms

It’s a legal requirement for all landlords to install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where there is a solid fuel burning appliance – e.g. a wood-burning stove or coal fire.

The CO2 alarm (along with smoke alarms) must be tested at the start of each new tenancy to make sure they’re in working order.

See the Government’s guide for landlords and tenants: The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022: guidance for landlords and tenants, which was updated in July 2022.

New rules came into force on 1 October 2022. Since that date, all relevant landlords must:

1. Make sure at least one smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of their homes where there is a room used as living accommodation. This has been a legal requirement in the private rented sector since 2015.

2. Make sure a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance(excluding gas cookers).

3. Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once informed and found that they are faulty.

Read more about smoke and carbon monoxide regulations for rented properties.

What if your tenant won’t allow access for the gas safety check?

Very occasionally, you may come across a tenant who won’t allow access for the gas safety check. They might feel like it’s an invasion of their privacy or you may be involved in a dispute.

Whatever their reason, either you as the managing landlord or your agent will need to explain this is a government requirement and it’s to help keep them safe.

It’s worth reminding them that carbon monoxide has no smell or taste and they could be putting themselves at serious risk by not allowing the check. It might help to reassure them that they can be in the property and even watch while the engineer carries out their inspection.

If that doesn’t work, you can take the following three steps:

  1. Send a letter – either via email with a ‘read receipt’ or by recorded delivery – scheduling a time for the gas safety check. Point out that this is a legal requirement and ask them to confirm that they will give access to the engineer
  2. If you don’t hear back within a reasonable amount of time, send a second letter emphasising that it’s a legal requirement and asking them to contact you
  3. If they still don’t respond, send a final letter asking them to contact you urgently to arrange a time for the inspection that would be convenient for them

It’s important that you complete all three steps and keep a record of each one, in order to comply with your legal obligations.  

Once you can clearly show that you’ve made three documented attempts to complete the gas safety check, if needed, you’ll be in a position to start possession proceedings (under Section 21) or proceedings for a County Court injunction.

What you must not do:

  • Simply use your own keys to get in
  • Cut off the gas supply – even in the name of safety

These things are illegal and you could be charged with harassment, so make sure you always follow the guidelines on how to inspect a rented property.

For more guidance on what to do if your tenant won’t allow access for a gas inspection, read our separate guide, ‘How to gain access for a landlord gas inspection’. The guide explains the steps you need to take, and in most cases these will work and succeed in getting you or your Gas Safe engineer entry to the property. However, if you think you might have to go down the possession or court injunction route, then call eviction specialists, Landlord Action, on 0333 222 3563 – Monday to Friday, 9am to5.30pm – or contact them online via the LandlordAction website.

What are the penalties for breaching gas safety regulations?

If you don’t get your gas appliances and pipework checked on an annual basis, you could be putting your tenants’ lives at risk. For that reason, the penalties for failing to comply with gas safety regulations are severe.

The standard penalty is a £6,000 fine and/or six months in prison. If you are found to be responsible for the death of a tenant, you could be charged with manslaughter.

In addition:

  • Your insurance cover may be invalidated
It’s worth bearing in mind that landlords need to follow all regulations including gas safety, building and fire as outlined in our landlord insurance terms and conditions. If you breach your legal obligations as a landlord, you could in turn invalidate your insurance policy and be left to deal with the claim yourself.– Steve Barnes, Head of Broking, Total Landlord
  • You may be unable to issue a Section 21 notice to evict a tenant if you haven’t given them a copy of the current gas safety certificate

If you have any questions about how gas safety may affect your insurance policy, feel free to contact our team.

Gas safety landlord

How to make sure you comply with gas safety regulations

The penalties might be harsh, but the gas safety regulations themselves are pretty straightforward. Here’s our round up:

Six steps to protect yourself against falling foul of the law:

  1. Schedule a gas safety check once a year
  2. Attend to any repairs or maintenance recommended by your engineer on the Gas Safety Record
  3. Ensure your tenants are given a copy of the record document as soon as possible after the inspection
  4. Carefully file the original Gas Safety Record and keep it for at least two years
  5. Service all gas appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions – or every 12 months
  6. Make sure any contract with a managing agent clearly states who is responsible and liable for ensuring your gas safety responsibilities are carried out.

And for a bit of extra help, Total Landlord's partner, HF Assist – the HFIS group's specialist letting agent helpline – has produced a handy guidance note on gas safety certificates and Section 21 notices.

Find out more about your legal obligations in our full guide: Legislation for landlords: everything you need to know.

Gas Safety Week runs every September, with the goal of keeping the nation safe. You can find out lots of tips and get a free email or text reminder about the annual safety check by visiting the Gas Safety Week website.

Become a Total Landlord.
Get a quote for our award winning landlord insurance.