Gas Boiler Regulations – Landlords Question

by Readers Question

23:17 PM, 7th March 2013
About 8 years ago

Gas Boiler Regulations – Landlords Question

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Gas Boiler Regulations – Landlords Question

Gas Boiler Regulations - Landlords QuestionI recently asked a plumber to look at a gas boiler in my rented flat. The hot water was patchy so asked him to rectify the problem, do a service and while he has at it give me the annual boiler safety check.

However, he took one look and refused to do anything, recommending that we shut off the boiler as it contravened the new gas boiler regulations implemented in December 2012.

Naturally my tenant was unhappy with that.

Apparently, these regulations state that the flues of the boiler must be visible for checking. Therefore, if as is the case of many flats, it is all behind panels/cupbords etc, you have to cut access holes every meter until it reaches the outside wall. Until we undertook this work he could not complete the work and left sending us the invoice.

Result a call out fee + VAT amounting to £100.

I wanted to raise awareness of these new gas boiler regulations to other landlords and also get your opinion as to whether I should pay this guy as I have now had to get another plumber to do the work.

Thanks for your advice.

Amanda Yates


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Comments

mike wilson

20:30 PM, 8th March 2013
About 8 years ago

Amanda, I appreciate your frustration but:
1. You state that your tenant was unhappy about the boiler being turned off ... I presume it was turned off. If it not then I think you have broken the law, most certainly Gas Safe regulations.
2. As of 1.1.13 all flue pipes in voids have to be accessible for inspection. If not the boiler should be shut off (Gas Safe regulations). The position for the year prior (2012) was that there had to be a CO detector in the room to allow the boiler to continue to operate. Prior to that (ie 2011) a Gas Safe engineer should have issued a warning.
3. I presume the Gas Safe Engineer shut off the boiler? (He is obliged to under the regulations.
4. As someone else has posted ignorance of the regulations is no defense.
5. As regards the engineers bill, I think I too would have issued a bill for my wasted time. He could not operate the boiler because the installation did not comply with the regulations. He presumably did not have the ability to undertake the job. If he did not shut off the boiler however you have an interesting situation.

Now I am not a gas safe registered engineer but suffice it to say I have had a very interesting learning curve over the last 2 years and many discussions with gas safe, manufacturers, building control officers, and those in the communities ministry who write the manuals..

There is a very interesting aspect relating to gas boilers located on internal walls and how the pressure relief pipe is dealt with if it difficult to put the pipe outside ..... I'll leave that to others to consider. But if your flue pipe had the problem you describe, where does your pressure relief pipe discharge to?

Londoner 43

22:18 PM, 8th March 2013
About 8 years ago

Amanda, Please take Rob's advice and do not try to install the inspection hatches yourself. It is false economy. I had the hatches installed late last year in my rental flat, and my regular builder said he could not do it, and that I should get a qualified gas engineer. Actually, it was quite a tricky job that took him almost 3 hours to complete. It was well worth paying almost £400 for parts and labour. Some of the neighbours in the block have not had it done, as they insist that as owner-occupiers they don't have to. However, the gas engineer said that everyone needs to have it done, unless the boiler is on the outside wall. If they don't have the hatches and their boiler breaks down, a gas engineer is not allowed to repair the boiler until the hatches are in place. It is not that easy to arrange the hatches installed at a very short notice.

22:45 PM, 8th March 2013
About 8 years ago

Amanda, just a point on paying the bill (or not). All these tradespeople know each other and drink together. Skim one of them and word soon gets round and you may struggle to get a tradesman of any kind. Playing devils advocate here, its not really the gas engineers job to second guess a job before he gets there. He has been asked to attend and its fair for him to assume that the Landlord knows their job and would not ask him to go if the job could not be done. As a Landlord you are running a business and its up to you to know the rules of your game and the condition of your properties. Its fair to say that lots of Landlords do not know about this rule but its also fair to say that they should. I would also recommend joining either the RLA or the NLA (Or both) as they are great organisations for keeping you up to date. Its your business, its your responsibility.

0:16 AM, 9th March 2013
About 8 years ago

Ray ; you are correct; but come on these tradespeople know that very few LL know about this hidden gas flue issue.
It affects millions of people.
It is a little disingenuous for a gas engineer not to ask 2 questions relating to this major issue before they attend!
By volunteering the info to the client does not mean the gas engineer will lose the job.
In fact most LL will ask the gas engineer as to whether they know anyone to do the gas flap job.
An ideal opportunity for a gas engineer to ingratiate himself with a LL for future jobs.
He could curry an awful lot of favour with a client LL if he advised the LL though
it is highly unlikely that a LL would use an engineer for the same or other jobs in the future for being striped up for £100
Yes LL should know about these things.
But I only found out by accident about the issue a year ago.
It is not just a niggling issue; it can prevent a property being let or deprive the tenant of heating and hot water.
They will rightly want rent reductions or compensation.
A LL needs these gas inspection hatches sorted; like yesterday.
I am due to have a final one fitted; but have the 'luxury' of no tenant presently!
As to how LL are supposed to know about such gas issues; i am going to investigate whether I could receive alerts from gassafe web site.
A more systematic methodology is need to ensure LL are aware of these safety critical matters.
Impressed on me more so by the flat 1 m from me having required a new gas flue and box section following near fatal experience of CO poisoning for the 4 tenants.
CAUSED by leaking gas flue!!!

Industry Observer

10:05 AM, 9th March 2013
About 8 years ago

@ Paul

So when you ring your garage to book in an MoT do you expect them to ask if you have insurance and a valid driving licence before they allow you to drive the car to them?

Amanda was commissioning a contractor to do a job, the contractor accepts on the basic premise that the job can be done when he attends on site. Otherwise the LL sdhould book the contractor to advise on whether work can be done. For example would you get Anglian on site to change all the windows in a Grade 2 listed building and then not expect to pay when they ask to see your planning consent?

Mark is quite right there is rteally no excuse for this and apart from ignorance NEVER being an excuse for brteraking the law, these changes have been incredibly well trailed including a HSE prosecution of a very high p[rofile case.

Excuse me for asking but don't private Landlords keep up? If not then they should use an agent - at least you could have forced them to pay the bill!!

Londoner 43

12:30 PM, 9th March 2013
About 8 years ago

I think these comments are getting somewhat out of hand. Amanda said she only bought the flat in October, and if she is a first-time landlord, it is not that easy to find out all the regulations quickly. I am not a professional landlord (as I only have one rental property), but I joined RLA almost immediately to receive updates. I can also phone for advice and the membership fee of £75 per year is worth paying.

Joe Bloggs

13:43 PM, 9th March 2013
About 8 years ago

in my experience i think cost of cp12's are extortionate. i try and get 3 done together all a few minutes apart and i have keys/accompany. 1.5 hours max, but cheapest is £150! if i were a gas fitter i would do these all day long than repairs or installations.

Industry Observer

13:57 PM, 9th March 2013
About 8 years ago

Joe

Your experience is possibly a bit limited. For a CP12 a £50 basic fee is pretty good, plus £10 or so per additional item, like a gas fire.

You must remember why accountants charge £600 minimum to sign off cmp statements for agents for ARLA, NALS etc. It is the signature and liability you are paying for.

Same with the Gas Safe man - it's his neck on the block if he gets one wrong.

Trust me a CP12 for a boiler and gas fire for £60 + VAT is not extortionate at all (I assume your property is not in London?!!)

Industry Observer

14:03 PM, 9th March 2013
About 8 years ago

@Satu430

With all due respect do you not think it a better idea to start researching an industry you intend investing in before making that investment?

Mark Alexander

14:15 PM, 9th March 2013
About 8 years ago

This is becoming a very interesting debate and no doubt very useful for landlords at every level of experience. The comments so far support the argument for compulsory education based accreditation which can only be opted out of in the event of instructing an accredited agent. Many of the criticisms of the PRS are that amateur landlords are not intentionally breaking laws but do so because they don't know better.

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