Who is liable for no Gas Safety Cert?

Who is liable for no Gas Safety Cert?

7:02 AM, 13th June 2016, About 6 years ago 19

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Can anyone please clarify whether I, as the landlady, or the letting agent would be held responsible if heaven forbid there should be an injury or fatality while the gas safety cert on my rental property is out of date?gas cert

I have just signed up to a full management contract with a letting agent and there’s been a mess up with the GSC. Over 7 days have gone by and still no certificate.

I asked for an email from them last Friday (8 days ago) to accept liability as it was their doing that no GSC is in place. At the time the full management contract was not signed. Instead I was sent a contract to e-sign which I duly did, thinking it would transfer the onus on to them if anything should go wrong before the certificate was renewed.

I have just had a conversation with someone which now makes me wonder if I would still held liable.

Regards

Sue



Comments

by Jireh Homes

9:51 AM, 18th June 2016, About 6 years ago

As a Landlord we can delegate to our Managing Agents but not abdicate our responsibility. Quite fightening how many Agents are not fully informed or correctly understand the responsibilities on the industry. Thus the importance of keeping up to date with legislation and membership of a Landlord Association, which if in Scotland is the Scottish Association of Landlords, or in England & Wales the RLA or NLA.

by

10:43 AM, 19th June 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jireh Homes" at "18/06/2016 - 09:51":

I agree and have just joined the NLA as a result.

I have sadly come to the conclusion I will now find it difficult to trust any agent to help keep me protected as a landlady and to help me do the best job I can. I really care about my tenants' well-being and safety - maybe a little too much in some people's eyes but better that way than the other. On Mandy's recommendation I have booked into an NLA foundation course. I have been foolish to think that by paying an agent fee I am safe to hand over the property knowing everything will be kept in order and up to date. I'm angry with myself for being so niave and with the agent for putting me in such a vulnerable position without a GSC and for also not informing me about the Legionella Risk Assessment requirements too - thankfully I get the daily download from this website otherwise I would never have known. I am sure there are some very very professional agents out there but it only takes one or two to tar the rest.

by Mandy Thomson

11:42 AM, 19th June 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jane Dunlin" at "19/06/2016 - 10:43":

I'm glad to have been able to help, Jane.

Legionella risk assessments are not mandatory, but after a recent experience of my own I now believe they should be. They may also be required under some licensing schemes.

I recently had a legionella assessment in one of my properties before I re-let it. The assessment revealed work that needs to be done, so I'm really glad I did it!

by Jireh Homes

16:07 PM, 19th June 2016, About 6 years ago

By way of clarification, Legionella Risk Assessments are mandatory (HSE Guidance Note INDG 458) and as Mandy has noted whilst in many properties the risk is confirmed as Low, surprising number where some remedial work beneficial. Biggest risk is typically scalding hot water, hot enough in some cases to brew a cup of tea!

by

11:25 AM, 20th June 2016, About 6 years ago

I appreciate the input Mandy Thomson and Jireh Homes.

This is what my agent emailed me recently about Legionella RA and Pat testing...

'There is no legal obligation to carry out a legionella risk assessment, you are required to perform due diligence as has been the case for 20 odd years until someone picked up on a small piece of legislation which they manipulated for profit.

Pat testing is a requirement in commercial premises and houses in multiple occupation, should you wish these to be carried out they can be, as can an electrical safety certificate, a full risk assessment, a fire risk assessment etc….'

I wasn't happy with this reply so I sought more advise and this is what I was told by an Inventory Clerk who was happy to share her knowledge ........

'The law is clear that if a landlord rents out a property (or even a room within their own home) then they have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of the tenant(s) by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards.

This is underpinned by Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA); and under Section 53 of HSWA. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) provides a framework of actions to control the risk from a range of hazardous substances, including biological agents (eg Legionella) and the HSE guidance document L8 Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) (revised and republished in November 2013) brings all these requirements including technical data (HSG274 part 2) together.

These are the HSE guidelines http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/legionella-landlords-responsibilities.htm

Whilst it is right to point out that as landlord you are able to carry out the report yourself if you feel able and deem yourself competent and that you are not required to provide a written report. However; should the unthinkable happen or the tenant requests that you 'prove' that the property is safe you will need to evidence that the assessment was carried out and that you complied with the HSE L8 sub sections.'

I would prefer that lady as my agent any day! This clearly demonstrates the difference in the knowledge and level of professionalism between individuals out there servicing the industry. It is just pot-luck that you find the right one the first time round and hopefully before you unwittingly find yourself in court for negligence.

I hope my agent - who shall not be named - is reading this thread and reflecting on the quality of support he is offering his clients!

by Romain Garcin

11:46 AM, 20th June 2016, About 6 years ago

Both replies say more or less the same, to be honest. The level of details might have been prompted by your specific question.

In fact, the article from the HSE (which is probably the source of a lot of the second reply's content) states that whilst the risk should be assessed it does not usually require a in-depth assessment, which is the substance of the agent's reply on the topic.

by Stan Barlow TEE LTD

14:46 PM, 20th June 2016, About 6 years ago

We have this conversation about certification whether it be gas or electric on a weekly basis. Our advice is to always remain in certification. If something goes wrong in this `sue at the drop of hat' culture [spend a couple of hours watching daytime TV and watch the commercials]. Also the law appears to be clearer in Scotland.
We look after over 1500 properties in Cornwall and we have every extreme of Landlord from Anything at all to almost nothing at all. Good luck and you made the right decision for Tuesday.

by Mandy Thomson

9:09 AM, 21st June 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jireh Homes" at "19/06/2016 - 16:07":

Actual legionella assessments are NOT legally mandatory, the law simply states that landlords are responsible for their tenant's safety in this regard. However, as I said previously, a legionella assessment (unless you know and can prove for a fact that your plumbing is safe - e.g. new installation that's easily accessible) is the best way to demonstrate this.

The current legislation (in England) about electricity is similar - it doesn't mandate an actual check, but does place the safety of the tenant firmly with the landlord.

by Jonathan Clarke

8:01 AM, 13th July 2016, About 5 years ago

.
The legal responsibility lies with the landlord.
If you delegate that responsibility but its not done then your ( potential ) prison sentence may be reduced if you can demonstrate mitigating circumstances. Those mitigating circumstances could be for example if you have shown reasonable due diligence in that delegation.
You are still guilty - but your sentence is less

You can only do so much but you need to manage the managers
Negligence is rarely a black and white issue but usually on a sliding scale.
That`s what judges will look at.
Do spot checks. That keeps people on their toes
.


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