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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.

Gas and electrical safety requirements for rental properties

Gas and electrical safety for rental properties

Gas Safety Checks are the most important item of compliance and should be taken extremely seriously.

Gas Safety Regulations 1998 require a landlord to have a gas safety check carried out annually. Appliances, flues and pipework must be safety-checked and a record provided. We currently organise 1,400 gas safety checks a year via Bricks & Mortar, our building division.

Occasionally issues are found at the first check, and this is most common when a landlord lets their own home. This is because, whilst homeowners should use a Gas Safe engineer for any work relating to gas in the property, nobody polices this. You might have been living in your home for years with no problems – but it still might not be up to the standards required by law when you let the property. We’ve had a few difficult conversations with landlords about this over the years, but the law is clear. Any remedial work must be carried out.

Failure to do so is a criminal offence carrying a maximum prison term of six months and a fine of £5,000. More seriously though, if anything were to happen to a tenant during a tenancy, the penalties could be far more severe. A manslaughter charge is not an attractive proposition.

It’s not a legal requirement to have a full electrical safety check carried out on non-HMO properties, but it is a legal requirement to show due diligence. At Finders Keepers we therefore insist that an electrical safety check is carried out on all properties.

This probably seems like just one more task to add to the apparently endless list of things to do when you start letting a property. But experience has taught us that doing everything correctly at the beginning results in fewer risks to you.

Various regulations insist that systems must be safely installed and maintained. Our view is that you can only be sure of this by having a qualified, industry-approved electrician check the installation. There was recently a fire at a property we manage. The first question the fire officer asked was: “Have you had an electrical safety check carried out?” Need we say more?

The cost of an electrical safety check is relatively small, depending on the size and age of the property, and the condition of the electrical installation. The certificate typically lasts for five years.

A PAT test is different and consists of a check of the electrical items in a property, most commonly kitchen appliances. These should ideally be checked annually by a competent person according to the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.

This is one of the 50 most asked questions in our new book: Landlord Intelligence.