As letting agents, one of the most common of tasks is the annual labour of arranging for the renewal of Gas Certificates. However, it has recently come to our attention that in certain circumstances simply having a valid Gas Certificate may not be enough to comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
Most agents like ourselves have come across at some time or another, tenants (particularly students) who have asked ask if they can use a lounge/ main living area as an extra bedroom. This effectively converts a one-bedroom property into a two-bedroom property. One would assume that as the Landlord agrees to this arrangement, there is nothing wrong with it.
However if the property already has a Gas Certificate and there is gas appliance in the lounge area (perhaps a gas fire or a back boiler) then by allowing the lounge to be used as an additional bedroom this seemingly innocent concession may invalidate your Gas Certificate as only certain types of gas appliances are permitted in rooms used as sleeping accommodation.
This situation may not be recognised until the next Gas Safe inspection and perhaps not even then if the lounge has a sofa-bed and the engineer doesn’t appreciate that the room is also used for sleeping.
If this situation then comes to light during a tenancy the Landlord may be faced with expensive works upgrading of the gas appliance as this may be at short notice as the Tenants are entitled to the use of an agreed additional bedroom and they can also demand alternative accommodation until the property complies with regulations.
In light of this, where there are gas appliances in the lounge we are now making the following three recommendations:
- It is essential that the tenancy agreement forbids the use of this room as sleeping accommodation;
- When Tenants ask if they can use the lounge as an additional bedroom we will always check to see if there are any gas appliances in this room;
- When the Gas Safe inspection takes place, as a matter of course now we always inform our gas engineer of any appliance situated in a room that is being used for sleeping.
David Webb Residential Lettings continually endeavour to research all the latest changes to the law and lettings legislation. This not only improves our service to our landlords but through our experience and advice we can assist in avoiding any unnecessary and unexpected expenditure.