Carter Jonas
Carter Jonas

Lack of gas safety certification will have major consequences

British Gas has revealed that 14 per cent of landlords among their customers who took part in a survey knew nothing about gas safety regulations.

It would be nice to think they had just sampled the wrong customers but that’s not likely to be the case.

With recent prosecutions seeing several landlords fined heavily for not having gas safety certificates for their properties and the startling results of that survey, perhaps it’s timely to remind all our landlords that gas safety inspections are a vital part of being a responsible landlord.

Sometimes it’s easier to remember essential electrical safety checks just because the signs of the power source are so obvious with sockets and plugs in virtually every room.

Gas, though, especially when powering hidden equipment such as boilers, is less apparent and much easier to ignore. Sadly, when things do go awry it’s also more difficult to detect. True, straightforward leaks are apparent by the smell of the escaping gas but when a gas appliance malfunctions in its combustion or exhaust processes the resulting leak of CO, a highly toxic and invisible gas with no odour, can have disastrous consequences. Victims of CO poisoning can, at worst, drift totally unaware into a deep sleep from which they never awaken.

Every landlord should ensure that all gas supplies and appliances are checked and certificated every year without fail.

According to a survey from Axa Business Insurance, 60 per cent of rental properties have no carbon monoxide alarm, and only 30 per cent of tenants said their landlord arranged an annual gas inspection. That’s alarming when it’s considered that some 200 people are hospitalised each year with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, with about 40 fatalities.

Tory MP Andrew Bingham has Government backing for his Household Safety (Carbon Monoxide) Bill, which has now received its second reading. His private member’s Bill would make it a legal requirement to install a functioning carbon monoxide detector in every rental property as well as every new-build.

More alarming for landlords who neglect the need for a gas safety certificate is a new private member’s Bill from Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather. The Government has agreed to back her Bill and allow it time to progress through the essential Parliamentary stages – its second reading is scheduled for November 28. Find out more at

It seeks to ban retaliatory evictions by landlords when tenants have requested repairs – once a repair has been requested it would be impossible to serve a Section 21 notice for repossession.

But this restriction to Section 21 notices would also apply where no valid gas safety certificate exists or where the tenant has not been given an EPC for the property. As this Bill is quite likely to receive Royal Assent before Parliament dissolves for the General Election next May there is even more reason to ensure that all necessary paperwork is up together.

Our property managers arrange gas safety certificates for our managed properties. It is a legal requirement for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted. However, we advise all landlords to consider the installation of alarms to protect the occupier and help prevent any legal action being taken against a landlord.


Lisa SimonMARLA

Partner - Head of National Residential Lettings

Lisa is the head of Residential Lettings at Carter Jonas; she is based in our Knightsbridge and Chelsea office where she started her career and advises on all aspects of letting and managing propert...

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