New technology has been launched in an attempt to improve gas safety accountability in the private rental sector.
The existing system makes it difficult for landlords and letting agents to know if the correct gas safety compliance measures are being followed and this could be putting tenants’ safety at risk.
It is a legal requirement for landlords - or agents acting on their behalf - to ensure gas appliances in rental properties are checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. They must also provide renters with a gas safety certificate within 28 days of the annual check taking place.
But Gas Tag, a leading gas safety compliance tool, argues that a lack of transparency and technology is limiting the effectiveness of mandatory gas safety checks, all the while increased rental sector regulations are putting more pressure on the time agents and landlords can dedicate to compliance.
Paul Durose, founder and CEO of Gas Tag, says a lack of accountability for gas engineers is a significant issue in the private rental sector (PRS).
He commented: “There’s currently no real recourse when a poor job is carried out because of the lack of technology in the system.
“Currently, if agents and landlords want to categorically make sure engineers are doing a good job, there's not much else they can do other than physically checking themselves. It's finding a solution to this problem which inspired Gas Tag.”
Gas Tag provides a market solution which links directly to the Gas Safe Register, ensuring that the correct work has been carried out at the right time, by the right engineer.
It has three main components – the ‘Gas Tag’, a small tag scanned by engineers to show evidence that work has taken place at a property, an app used by engineers to log their work, and a portal, which provides proof of compliance and an overview of all gas works completed.
The Gas Tag portal gives landlords and letting agents a real-time view of all activity being carried out, with information available on completed works, properties at risk, maintenance due dates and a variety of other important events.
Durose added: “Our system offers unique transparency, demonstrating how compliance obligations are being met.
“Letting agents can easily showcase to clients that works at their properties have been completed by a Gas Safe engineer to a high-quality standard.
“We’re aiming to remove the worry of managing a paper-based system. Electronically-stored gas safety records are generated inside the portal as the work is completed, providing an audit trail for all parties.”
Durose says that there are a range of other benefits for landlords and letting agents.
He continued: “Our system allows agents to keep on top of their workload. You can stop spending your valuable time making calls to get updates from contractors,” he says.
“We want to help improve efficiency and solve issues with a paper-based system of maintaining compliance records.
“We are working with the government and insurance companies to ensure there is a Gas Tag in every household in the UK,” Durose concludes.
“Introducing technology into the system will have a transformative effect on gas safety in the UK and we are committed to ensuring that the PRS will be amongst the first to realise those benefits.”