Gas safety certificate should be a legal requirement for all households?

by Readers Question

13:26 PM, 24th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

Gas safety certificate should be a legal requirement for all households?

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Gas safety certificate should be a legal requirement for all households?

So, you’re on this property forum because you are probably a landlord, and therefore probably own 2 or more properties either by choice or fate. Back in Dec 1996 I brought my first property to live in and a few years later while trying to help my family I became a landlord.

As with life things happen and I just went with the flow and now have 6 properties with me living in rented. The last property was purchased was in Oct-14 and at this point, I thought should I continue to grow my little empire, but the raft of governmental changes were still coming in thick and fast, so I stopped.

My yearly costs are going through the roof, this is what I put aside every year for legally required stuff on each property.
Gas £88.00
Electric EICR £35.00
Electric £80.00
EPC £10.00
HMO £265.00
Insurance £250.00
Building maintenance £1,222.00 (for leasehold properties)
Ground Rent £15.00 (for leasehold properties)
Legionnaires’ Certificate £12.50

Then I must pay Agency fees, every 10 years something will break which is another +£1000 a year to set aside. Typical replacement costs:-
Oven £300.00
Hob £200.00
Fridge £200.00
Freezer £200.00
Washing Machine £400.00
Boiler £3,000.00
Taps etc. £200.00
Carpets £3,000.00
Paint £3,000.00

I could then be forced to make EPC upgrades every 10 years costing £10,000.00

Then we also have to deal with:-
1) the taxes
2) Mortgages
3) General repairs that you’ve never thought of
4) the failure of tenants to pay followed by court costs
5) Letters from the council threatening court action over the noise someone makes.
6) Letters from the council threatening court action because the tenant committed fraud.
7) Property turned into a cannabis factory and the police refusing to return the keys for 6 months due to an ongoing investigation.

Yes, I’ve had all these and more. My personal favourite was being threatened by the council because someone smoked something ‘strange’ on the footpath in front of my house, and they informed me that if I didn’t take action they would evict my tenants. I asked for their lawyer’s name as they must be really good as I can’t get them out. They declined.

So is it worth being a landlord?

I don’t know anymore but I do know that we are in this together and that a trouble shared is a trouble halved which got me to thinking how do I spread this pain so I’ve raised a petition ‘Gas safety certificate for all gas households’.

I know that natural gas will be phased out and probably replaced with hydrogen (maybe, maybe not) assuming the government makes a decision, but hydrogen is still as gas, so I think the title of the petition is correct.

I decided to go with the following because I think health and safety is fairly persuasive, to all

A yearly gas safety certificate should be a legal requirement for all households that uses gas of any sort. Every year people are killed or maimed in gas explosions. It also affects neighbours and people simply passing by the property. Surely we have the right to feel safe in our own homes. And I added this because if we are every going to change be it hydrogen boilers, heat pumps or something else we still need people to do the work.

If we checked every house we would need 22k engineers, creating new jobs & these engineers would be in place ready for the role out of hydrogen I understand that this will cost you money as well as you are probably living in your own home but:
As a landlord I think if I must have one, then everyone should.
As a homeowner I do not think it necessary, but I consider myself to be fairly responsible and don’t play with gas. (who’s heard that before)
As a tenant, I would think it doesn’t matter as the landlord must get it done.

I now realise that however safe we make our own properties we are only as safe as our neighbours ie What happens to me, my family, my house if the neighbour’s house explodes at best I have weeks of disruption with builders repairing the other house and worst case is everyone in my house is killed because my house collapses and kills everyone while they are asleep.

Now assume the house next door to your BTL goes up, who’s going to be in court charged with homicide or something else as the public will want to see heads roll. While this is happening the insurance will argue about who has to pay, and you’ll still have to pay your mortgage and of course you’ll have to find somewhere for your tenant to live so is another £100 a year really that hard to swallow as a landlord.

You should also know that if this gets approved it’s likely that someone in the houses of parliament will have to pay to get their gas tested. So not only do you get to spread the pain you get to stick it to the government.

So will you sign it? Click this link to sign the petition:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/579794

David

Comments

Paul Shears

18:35 PM, 24th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

Now let me get this right.
You are complaining about the crippling effects of bureaucracy and you think that the solution is to fill out more forms and pass them on to someone else..........

Old Mrs Landlord

8:04 AM, 25th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

I, for one, cannot identify with your strange attitude that because you have responsibilities every one else not in your position should suffer the same obligations. If you no longer feel the requirements of compliant landlordism are worth the effort and expense the solution would be to join the thousands of others who feel the same way and leave the business. You would then be able to buy a house to live in, bearing only the responsibility for and costs of safety and maintenance of that single property.
For what it's worth, the sums you set aside for maintenance and compliance seem on the low side to me, especially as you apparently operate HMOs. Furthermore, the agents you employ appear somewhat lax in their tenant selection process, judging by the incidences you reference. We are all only too aware that the obligations, restrictions and additional taxes and expenses heaped upon private landlords' shoulders of recent years, and particularly during this unprecendent current pandemic, are extremely onerous but nobody asked us to take on this role and if the burden becomes too great the remedy is in our own hands.
I recognise however that forums such as this do afford an opportunity to have a good moan, criticise the government for making us convenient scapegoats for their own failings, and air our grievances among ourselves.

Marie

8:22 AM, 25th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

I can see your point. I always thought if these checks are so important they should apply to everybody not just to landlords.

Leonardo de Cristofano

8:34 AM, 25th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

I think less regularly requirement for normal households to have a Gas Certificate and EICR would be good idea for all our safety not just tenants but perhaps every 5 years. For landlords these costs can be written off as tax deductibles from rental income. If you're on a low income or retired person with a limited pension for example these costs would be just too much and its unnecessary to do it every year (Gas Certificate). And perhaps there should also be a tax benefit for regular households too as well as Landlords.

Richard Spong

8:51 AM, 25th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

An interesting summary of expenses and I generally agree with much of what you say.
I personally have a large portfolio and have seen remedial expenses go through the roof in the last year following: HMO Licence requirements, EICR checks, Gas checks and EPCs. Now I have never skimped on paying for necessary work and uplifts over the years and I believe all of my tenants are generally very happy.
Where remedial works are clearly essential following mandatory checks then fine, we must get this done.
My main problem seems to be with the contractors who undertake the tests. Many will submit quotes to undertake remedial work which in many cases is eye wateringly excessive. In short, if a contractor needs the work they have a licence to find it if they look hard enough.

TheBiggerPicture

9:55 AM, 25th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

I have always found it annoying that I have to provide checks for the tenant that I don't provide for myself.
I also find it annoying that these checks are set for abitary time periods. For instance I would find it less necessary to get a boiler check yearly if it was brand new compared to an older one.
Or if the boiler was off for half a year, because property was empty, then the boiler check could happen later.

The government have removed the ability of both the tenant and landlord to use their judgement. This causes waste in the economy, infantilses adults and pushes up cost of housing.

I agree with the comment about consistentcy, but it should go in the direction of less regulation, rather than more.
The reason these manadatory checks are not applied to everyone, is because they are not necessary. People who think they are necessary, go out and get them.

How is it that politicians think we are not capable of using judgement, but they are able to judge for both themselves and us?

Paul Shears

9:58 AM, 25th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by TheBiggerPicture at 25/03/2021 - 09:55
Spot on! I am quite certain that the failure to appreciate your views will be the end of us.

DGM

10:43 AM, 25th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by TheBiggerPicture at 25/03/2021 - 09:55
These continual checks are getting onerous, but EPC is not expensive and a total waste of time as most is assumed. For EICR I use a qualified electrician that now just does EICR compliance checks so he is unbiased and has no financial gain to find anything wrong. He said two years he got so busy doing EICR tests, PAT etc, he has given up doing the "Tools".
We used to host foreign students and from some providers, they requested we had a Gas Safe certificate (if using gas) even though we are a residential house and smoke alarms on each floor - why you wouldn't have smoke alarms I don't know as they are cheap and protect you.

Leonardo de Cristofano

10:45 AM, 25th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by TheBiggerPicture at 25/03/2021 - 09:55
Good points! And just to highlight and please correct me if I am wrong but with the EICR you are required to do a new certificate every time a new tenant moves in. Now surely if there has been no major change to the electrical set up of the property this is just a pointless and costly exercise and that EICR certification should at the minimum last for 5yrs or sooner if major electrical work carried out (and maybe that could prescribed in the certification and the landlord agrees to those rules to carry out a re certification or face a heavy fine)

Mike

11:13 AM, 25th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

David, You are brilliant, you have just given the Government an idea to generate several Billion pound in revenue, how would the authorities know whether you as a home owner have renewed or had your gas safety checks conducted, so this would lead the Government to make a new body called Home Occupation License, (HOL) which will require renewing each year, for which every household will need a Gas Safety Test Certificate, an EICR report, and home insurance, to get or obtain your Home occupation License, it will be exactly same as a road tax for cars, where you need an MOT test certificate, Insurance, etc, so before the Government issues you a license to occupy your own house, failing to renew your license in time you get an automatic fine of £500, yes you could not have dreamt it David, its coming soon now.......but before it actually hits us, I will be living in Bahamas.

But here is the reality, the stress of it all will kill more people than how many gas explosions kill. So David choose your death, which way would you prefer to die, through a gas explosion or through a slow and painful death through stress of it all and modern living?

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