Selling a house can be an exciting time, but there is a lot of paperwork that accompanies the process. You might not be sure which documents you are legally required to have before you sell your house.
You may have heard of a Gas Safety Certificate and be wondering whether you need to obtain one before you sell up. However, there are different rules that apply to homeowners compared to landlords of residential properties.
If you are a landlord, you are legally obliged to obtain a Gas Safety Certificate through an annual gas safety inspection. A registered gas safety engineer must check all gas appliances in the property are safe, and you must list the results in your Landlord Gas Safety Record. Homeowners can also request a copy of the certificate, although their legal obligation is different to that of landlords.
It’s important that you follow the required safety regulations for gas appliances, so we’ve compiled this guide to talk you through what a Gas Safety Certificate is and how you can obtain one.
Do I need a gas safety certificate to sell my property?
It’s not a legal requirement for homeowners to have a Gas Safety Certificate unless they rent the property out (to tenants or lodgers). This means that homeowners don’t legally need a certificate when they sell your property, but you may decide to obtain one voluntarily.
A Gas Safe registered engineer may give you some form of documentation and record after they conduct a gas safety check on your property (although this isn’t a legal requirement for homeowners). You decide to pass these documents on to the buyer of your property when you move.
Continue reading to find out more information about gas safety certificates and what kinds of certificates you need when you sell your property.
What is a Gas Safety Certificate?
A Gas Safety Record is a document that a Gas Safe registered engineer gives to you when they have completed checks of the gas appliances in a property. The document will detail the work that was done, such as a service or safety checks.
All gas engineers are legally obliged to be on the Gas Safe Register and are the only engineers who can conduct this type of safety check. Gas engineers don’t legally have to give the average homeowner the documents from the gas safety checks. By law, landlords of residential properties must keep the Gas Safety Certificates and get them renewed every year. Landlords must also provide their tenants with a copy of the latest certificate.
The Gas Safety Certificate record should feature the following information:
- address of the property checked
- name and address of the landlord/homeowner
- description/location of each gas appliance that was checked
- name, registration number and signature of the engineer who conducted the checks
- date of the checks
- information on any defects/ action needed
- results of all safety checks
Although it’s not a legal requirement for gas pipework to be covered in the annual safety check, landlords must ensure that the installed pipework is kept in a safe condition. You can ask registered gas safety engineers to test the tightness of the gas system, including the pipework and examine the pipework during the gas safety checks.
How to get a Gas Safety Certificate
You can request a gas safety check from a local Gas Safe-registered engineer. If the engineer isn’t Gas Safe-registered, the certificate and checks won’t be legal. Most landlords choose to get a gas safety check and annual boiler service included with their landlord boiler cover.
It’s a good idea to request a new gas safety check between 10 to 12 months after the previous one was completed. The expiry date on your old test won’t be affected if a new test is done during this time period. However, if you requested a check when the previous test was under ten months or over 12 months ago, the new test’s expiry date will be 12 months from the latest test.
Landlords need to keep each test for two years after it was issued. You may be able to access the certificates online if the gas company allows it, but it’s a good idea to keep a physical copy too.
How much does a gas safety check cost?
There are various factors that affect how much a gas safety check costs, such as where you live, which company you use and how many appliances need to be checked. As a guide, a gas safety check can cost between £35 to £99, depending on these factors.
Gas companies charge for gas safety checks in different ways. You may find that one company may initially seem cheaper than another, but they may charge per appliance, whereas the other company charges a flat rate. If you have a lot of gas appliances that need checking, it may be a better option to choose a company that charges a flat rate.
Who needs a Gas Safety Certificate?
It’s a legal requirement that you obtain an annual Gas Safety Certificate if you rent your property out to other people. This includes renting to both tenants and lodgers. Once you receive your Gas Safety Certificate, you must pass the information on to your tenants within 28 days.
It’s not a legal requirement that you have a Gas Safety Certificate. However, it’s a good idea to get regular gas and boiler appliance checks. You can ask the gas engineer for a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate for your own records.
Landlords must give tenants a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days of the check. You should contact your landlord or letting agent if you haven’t received a copy within this time period. It’s your responsibility to get your own gas appliances checked (such as a gas oven). However, the landlord is responsible for the gas pipework that supplies the appliance.
Selling a house without a Gas Safety Certificate
You can legally sell your property without a Gas Safety Certificate. However, it’s advisable to book a gas safety test for your new property before you move in. You should ask the current owners if they have a copy of a Gas Safety Certificate for the property. If they are able to provide you with a copy that was issued less than 12 months ago, you shouldn’t have to book a new check.
Although you don’t need a Gas Safety Certificate when you sell a property, you must notify local authorities when a new heat-producing appliance is installed at your property. The local authorities will issue you with a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate, which you must give to the new owners when you sell your property.
What does a gas appliance service involve?
A gas safety check can only be conducted by a Gas Safe-registered engineer. They will look at the gas appliances in your property and ensure that they are operating safely. The engineer will evaluate the following:
- whether the appliance is suitable for the room it is located in
- whether the appliance is properly and securely connected to the gas pipework
- if the gas in the appliance burns correctly
- if there’s an adequate and stable air supply
- whether tall safety features are functioning correctly
- if any connected flues, chimneys and vents are operating correctly
In a full gas safety check, the engineer may also check the gas pipework to see if the pipes are in a good condition and functioning properly with no leaks.
What are the risks of unsafe gas appliances?
Unsafe gas appliances can lead to gas leaks that may cause fire and explosions. If you smell gas or suspect there is a gas leak somewhere, you should call your emergency service provider immediately.
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a major concern as it is a highly poisonous gas that can be released from unsafe gas appliances. The danger is amplified as it can’t be seen, smelt or tasted.
Landlords must legally install both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rented properties. There must be a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in every room that contains a gas appliance, as well as at least one smoke alarm on every storey of the property (which is used as living accommodation). Local authorities can issue landlords with a fine of up to £5,000 if these standards are not met.
What are the warning signs of unsafe gas appliances?
It’s important to look out for the following as they could be signs that your gas appliance is unsafe:
- the appliance isn’t working properly
- the appliance produces a floppy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame
- the boiler’s pilot light keeps turning off
- dark marks have appeared in or around the appliance
- there is increased condensation on the windows
If you notice any of the above signs, it’s important that you book a gas safety check as soon as possible. However, you should book annual gas safety inspections even if you don’t notice any of the above-mentioned signs.
What happens if my property fails its gas safety check?
If your property fails the relevant gas safety checks, it’s essential that the appliances are repaired or replaced so that the property is safe. Landlords are legally required to make sure that properties are safe for tenants to inhabit. It’s a criminal offence if, as a landlord, you aren’t able to provide a valid Gas Safety Certificate and prove that your property complies with Gas Safety Regulations. You could face unlimited penalties and up to six months in prison. Even if you avoid prosecution, your house insurance will likely be invalid.
If a tenant were to die as a direct result of an unsafe gas appliance, you could be charged with manslaughter and may face prison.
Do I need a boiler installation certificate?
Local authorities in England and Wales must always be informed when a heat-producing appliance (such as a boiler) is installed on a property. The local authority will issue you with a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate once your gas engineer has notified them of the installation.
You can order a replacement Building Regulations Compliance Certificate on the Gas Safe Register website if you need a copy. Each replacement copy costs £6.12 (inc. VAT) and can only be posted to the installation address (or sent to your registered email).
How long does a gas safety inspection take?
On average, a gas safety check usually takes 30 minutes to complete. However, this may be reduced or increased depending on the size of the property and the number of gas appliances in it. The gas engineer might have to perform urgent gas repairs if there is a problem, which also extends the length of the service.
Homeowners don’t have to have a gas safety certificate, although they should get regular safety checks of the gas appliances in their properties anyway. Landlords are legally required to have a gas safety check every year and must keep a copy of the subsequent Gas Safety Certificate. Tenants must be given a copy of the certificate within 28 days of its issue date.
Only Gas Safe-registered engineers can complete a gas safety check and issue the legal document. The inspections can vary from £35 up to £99, depending on the location of the property, its size and how many gas appliances there are. Each inspection usually lasts an average of 30 minutes, although this can be longer or shorter depending on how many appliances the engineer has to check.