Here is a question to the blog clinic from Josh who works for a letting agency:
I work for a letting agency, we manage a flat on behalf of an ‘out of town’ landlord. The block contains 8 flats in total and is served by a single gas boiler in the basement. There are no meters in the flats and the cost of heating is included in the service charges.
Recently the tenant of the flat owned by our client (which is on the ground floor) reported a smell of gas and the whole building was evacuated. The gas board were called out and turned the gas off.
The block managers sent a gas plumber and there turned out to be a leak in the pipes under the communal floor, this was fixed but took 3 days.
Because of the upheaval, the tenant reported the incident to the council and now we are being pursued for a gas safety certificate. We have tried to tell the council that it is communal boiler and they need to speak to the block managers but they say that all the flats should have certificates and will only accept it from us.
We have tried speaking with the block managers but they are ignoring all our attempts at communication.
If there are no gas appliances or meter in the flat, does the landlord still need to give the tenant a gas certificate?
We have spoken with gas safe and they told us we also need a certificate but their advice does not seem credible given that our client does not own the freehold.
Please can you offer some advice.
The best place to go if you have a question regarding the gas regulations is the Health and Safety Executive website, which has an excellent section on landlords obligations for gas safety. The HSE are the body which polices these regulations and who bring any prosecutions.
Looking at the FAQ on this page – the question ‘What about appliances in communal areas’ has the answer:
Where a building has a communal appliance (eg boiler) used by multiple dwellings, the landlord must ensure that the appliance is maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer and is checked as part of the annual gas safety check. This may involve co-ordinating safety activity with the building owner if that is not the landlord.
This seems to be borne out by the main guidance for landlords which you can download from here.
I suggest that therefore you arrange for a gas safety certificate to be obtained, as then you will not be at risk of prosecution.
I note that the freeholders are being obstructive. Hopefully if they are contacted by a Gas Safe registered engineer requesting access for an inspection they will co-operate. Otherwise you can threaten to report them to the HSE.