Gas is very popular in domestic properties including those which are rented out by landlords. Indeed it is often recommended in landlords Energy Performance Certificates as a way to improve the energy efficiency of a property.
However gas is a fossil fuel. It may be a cleaner fossil fuel but it is a fossil fuel nonetheless. If we are to fight climate change we need to move away completely from all fossil fuels and use (insofar as is possible) only renewable energy appliances. This means electricity.
There are other reasons, unconnected with climate change issues, why gas is to be avoided:
Other reasons to avoid gas:
Gas is very dangerous
In fact, its often described as a silent killer. You cannot smell or see it, but if you breathe in too much of it you can suffer carbon monoxide poisoning which can cause death.
Gas leaks from faulty appliances or pipework can be accidentally ignited and can cause fires or explosions with sometimes devastating effect.
The Gas Regulations
Because of the dangers of gas, we have had gas regulations which apply to all rented properties since the 1990s. These are very strict and require landlords to obtain a gas safe certificate and serve in on tenants before they move into the property. The property then has to be reinspected every year and a fresh certificate obtained and served on tenants.
As the law stands at the time of writing, if landlords serve their gas safe certificates on tenants AFTER they have moved into the property, they will lose their right to evict tenants under the no-fault section 21 procedure. This was first held in a case called Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Shooltz.
It is arguable that if a landlord has failed to serve a gas safety certificate properly on tenants, but then removes all gas pipework and appliances from the property – this could negate the rule from the Caridon Property case. There have been no cases on this point though and so this is speculative.
Amazingly some tenants are obstructive and refuse to allow landlords access to the property to carry out the annual gas check. This is more likely to happen in social housing but is not unknown in the private rented sector.
When this happens it puts the landlord in a difficult position. They cannot enter the property against the tenant’s will to carry out the check. However, if the gas safety certificate is not obtained and served on the tenants, the landlord will be in breach of the law. Plus there is always the possibility that the appliances have been damaged and are unsafe – which could result in injury to the tenants and damage to the property.
The general rule is that if landlords have at least three documented attempts to gain entry to carry out the test then they will have a defence to any prosecution. I provide guidance on this in my Landlord Law service. However, it is still a problem for landlords who may have concerns about the safety of their property.
Changes are likely to come
It is likely that at some stage in the future, new gas installations will be outlawed by new climate change regulations. If we are to properly fight climate change this is a necessity. The EPC standards will also need to change.
Landlords are therefore advised to fit electrical heating and other appliances in their properties from now on. If this is combined with the use of a green energy company (such as Ecotricity) then this will go towards reducing the properties all over carbon footprint. Which is all to the good.
It will also mean that you no longer have the bother and expense of obtaining annual gas safe certificates and are spared the other worries discussed above.