As a landlord, you have several legal obligations under The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
1) Arrange an annual gas safety check to include all gas appliances and flues within the property.This must be carried out by a GasSafe registered engineer.
2) Provide a copy of this report to your tenants within 28 days of the test, and to all new tenants moving into a property. Note: Under the Deregulation Act 2015 if this is not done you will not be able to serve an eviction notice to your tenants.
3) Maintain all gas appliances, flues and pipework, to include an annual service.
You are also required under the Health And Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure the property is safe.
What happens if you don't comply?
Non-compliance is a criminal office and the standard penalty is a £6000 fine (per appliance) and/or 6 months imprisonment.
However, if there were to be a fatal incident due to lack of gas safety compliance a criminal charge as serious as manslaughter could be levied against the landlord and/or agent. Any buildings or contents insurance could also be invalidated.
Proposed update to current regulations in 2018
The current regulations state that a gas certificate must be carried out on annual basis, and must not be allowed to expire. This can cause an issue if there is no availability for appointments meaning you potentially have time left on a certificate "wasted".
The government are proposing to introduce more flexibility to the timing of the gas certificate, by using an "mot style" system whereby the certificate can be carried out within 2 months of the due date, but retain that original date going forwards.
The legislation introducing this change is the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 and the changes are due to come into force on 6th April 2018.