As a residential rental provider, there are some duties that you have to fulfill and one of them is a gas safety check. Electrical safety is included in this particular context as well. As per the laws instituted by the Government of Victoria if you are a rental provider and are entering an agreement following 29th March 2021 there are a few things that you need to ensure. These same rules are also applicable for rental providers who have a fixed term agreement exceeding five years and continuing after 29th March 2021 as a periodic tenancy. You have to make sure that you are carrying out these inspections once every two years.

If you have not got a gas safety check done in two years when a renter occupies your premises, you need to ensure that you get the work done as soon as possible. However, please note that if you are renting out a newly built apartment or house you may not need to conduct a separate electrical and gas safety check.

Gas safety check

As part of a gas safety check you need to make sure that gas appliances such as stoves and heaters are maintained properly and that too by a registered or licensed gas fitter. If you do not maintain your gas appliances properly, they may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Apart from what has been said above, there are some other factors that you have to keep in mind in this context. You also need to keep records of such safety checks and provide these documents to the renters as and when they ask for them. Before you finalize the rental agreement, you must also inform your renter of the last date when the gas safety examination was conducted and if the checking authorities made any outstanding recommendations.

Procuring a registered gas fitter

  • A licensed or registered gas fitter is a plumber who possesses the license or registration to perform a gas safety check and gas fitting work with VBA (Victorian Building Authority).
  • You can check the VBA website to ascertain if a gas fitter holds the license or registration for a Type A appliance servicing work or not.
  • A gas fitter can only do such work if they have the license or registration to carry out specialized Type A appliance servicing work – they are the only ones with the necessary authorization in these cases.
  • You should also ask the plumber doing the work to produce their card which states that they hold the latest license or registration for the Type A appliance servicing work. This would imply that they are capable of carrying out gas fitting servicing work.
  • You can look for such licensed or registered gas fitters on directories such as Yellow Pages and the internet.

Please note that the registered plumbers who are taking specialized classes in plumbing work need to do gas safety check under the supervision of a person who is already licensed in the specialized class.

What does this work include from a technical point of view?

A gas safety check includes the following:

  • proper installation of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cylinders and the gas components associated with the same
  • presence of sufficient ventilation for the appliances to operate with safety
  • installation of appliance gas solution valves at the right places as per the requirements of AS/NZS (Australian/New Zealand Standard) 5601.1 “Gas Installations” – they must comply with the latest amended and published version of the same
  • presence of adequate restraints on gas appliances including cookers to make sure that they do not tip over
  • the ability of gas appliances and their components to be accessed for adjustment and servicing
  • state of gas appliance flue systems inclusive of chimneys
  • the electrical safety of the gas installation
  • evidence of certification of gas appliances
  • clearances from appliances to combustible surfaces are in line with the installation instruction and the latest amended and published version of AS/NZS 5601.1 “Gas Installations”

Apart from these, gas safety check also includes testing the gas installations for leakage. In the case of standard gas installations, this includes servicing every Type A gas appliance that is included in that installation. It is also important in this context to be aware of what section 72 of the Gas Safety Act 1997 states. It states that the professional doing the gas fitting work must make sure that the work is being done in compliance with the requirements and standards that have been prescribed under the Act concerning such work.

Evidence of gas safety check 

The gas fitter needs to provide you with proof of gas safety check. It must include documents such as the following:

  • full name of the gas fitter along with their business details inclusive of registration and license number
  • results of the check inclusive of any repairs and servicing that may be needed, and the actions taken to address those repairs
  • date when the safety check was done
  • copy of the record of gas servicing work that has been submitted to VBA and provided to the rental provider as per Gas Safety (Gas Installation) Regulations 2018 for every Type A gas appliance that has been serviced as part of the standard gas installation

Conclusion 

You need to have either a compliance certificate – in case it is applicable – or a document from the licensed gas fitter who did the gas safety check as a record of the fact that you got such work done on your premises. If you get further work done in this regard following the check, you also have to keep the tax invoice or compliance certificate connected to that work. It is also important to maintain the tax records of such work including every detail of the registered or licensed gas fitter who did the work. This needs to be done till the time the record of the next safety check gets created.

If your renter requests the gas safety check documents in writing, you must provide them with copies of the same within seven days of the request.

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