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Landlords responsibility for gas safety certificates for appliances in communal areas

gas fireHere 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.

Buffer

Important note. If you are reading an old post, remember that the law may have changed since it was written.




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3 Responses to Landlords responsibility for gas safety certificates for appliances in communal areas

  1. Not, or for the first time, is the guidance from the HSE suspect in this context, and Haringey are incorrect based on what has been posted. There is no requirement for a gas safety check for a flat or flats if there are no gas appliances flues or chimneys or supply pipe work therein, or adjacent and accessed by the flat.

    The advice includes the above which are located outside the premises, however the problem here is that the boiler (and perhaps other installations) are, as the advice does not anticipate, outside of their control, and under that of the block landlord.

    The block landlord’s obligations are therefore contractual and statutory and while the 98 regulations might apply, depending on what appliances and services are where, might be regarded as falling under different regulations applying to non domestic premises.

    You can only hope that the LL and the agent are using an appropriate competent contractor and can provide documentation under which set of regulations apply.

    Haringey will have many buildings of their own with district systems and I will eat a hat if more than very few of those flats themselves have GSCs !

    Obtaining a certificate for the flat is a sensible precaution showing that there is nothing to test or assess. The communal boiler is outside your control, but the point having been made try and get Haringey to assist you with resolving the issue with the LL and Agent to establish if they have or are required to certify- if the supply pipe is in the common areas my instinct is that they ought to have.

  2. The rules and regs are very clear clear that any appliance supplying the property, located in the property or not, is included.

    Apart from anything else presumably there is some pipework in the flat, so that alone dictates a CP12 record is needed.

    All other issues are immaterial – where the boiler is, who pays the bill




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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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