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I have lost my boiler paperwork and I am selling my house

From April 2005 it became a legal requirement to obtain a building regulation completion certificate when installing new gas appliances.

Buying and selling property

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It is a regular enquiry that solicitors raise when conveyancing on a property purchase: ‘When was the boiler installed and please provide an up-to-date gas service record’. Why do solicitors ask this question and why do they insist on it being answered?

You may have seen in the news recently that properties have been devastated by explosions and damage in the UK. Whilst these incidents are still very much under investigation it does remind us of the importance of ensuring the gas appliances in the property are safe and working properly.

The law

In April 2005, it became a legal requirement for property owners to obtain a building regulation completion certificate for the installation of any new heat producing gas appliances, i.e., your boiler or fire.

Failure to obtain the documentation, or in fact misplacing it, could mean that you run into issues in selling your property. The reason for this is because compliance certificates inform your solicitor that at the time the unit/appliance was installed it complied with building regulations and gives you the comfort that the appliance was safe.

A building regulation completion certificate also confirms to your local authority that the appliance is safe. Failure to evidence this or obtain a certificate could result in enforcement action if the boiler becomes unsafe and requires their intervention.

Annual inspections

Of course, the building regulations completion certificate does not confirm that the boiler is safe to use at the time of completion and you may therefore see your solicitor requesting an up-to-date gas service record. This will be completed by a gas engineer on an annual basis and a record will be provided confirming that all gas appliances in the property are working and safe to use. This will give you the reassurance that the boiler is being maintained and tested each year and it is in fact safe.

If a seller can’t find any documentation for the boiler

The first step in enquiries regarding the boiler is to look at when you purchased the property. If it was recent or in the past couple of years you could approach the solicitor who purchased the property for you. They can then advise you on what they found on their investigations.

If you are unable to do this, or purchased your property a number of years ago, your buyer may have obtained a local search which could reveal an entry that would confirm that the completion certificate was obtained and reported to the local authority. This should provide your buyer with the assurances they need to proceed as a completion was obtained, it is just the document that is missing. A copy can also be obtained from the Gas Safe website.

If your boiler was installed post April 2005 and there is no evidence that building regulations were obtained, your solicitor can obtain an indemnity policy that will insure your buyer against any enforcement action from the local authority. Regrettably you will not be able to provide the usual assurances that a completion certificate will bring but an up-to-date gas service record will provide confirmation to your buyer that the appliance is safe to use.

It is very important that you do not make any approaches to the local authority or third parties directly, you should only liaise with your solicitor if you cannot find the documentation. Your direct contact could in fact hinder your options in providing an indemnity policy.

Annual inspections and servicing are not a legal requirement and therefore as a seller you can refuse to provide or obtain this for your buyer if they request it. However, it can assist with your enquiries and provide your buyer with peace of mind that the appliances are safe.

As a buyer what can I do to ensure my interests are protected?

A common phrase in conveyancing which you may hear as a buyer is ‘let the buyer beware’ or ‘caveat emptor’, this means as a buyer the burden is on you to inspect the property to ensure it is both legally and structurally sound.

Your solicitor will of course make the enquiries regarding the boiler, it is also important that you make your solicitor aware of any concerns or additional gas appliances that may have been installed to ensure they are checked.

If the seller does not hold the documentation for these appliances your solicitor will advise you accordingly on your next options which could include indemnity insurance, and an up-to-date inspection to ensure the appliances are safe.

Is it likely to delay my transaction?

It is always difficult to say with these types of enquiries as it does depend on when the boiler was installed and if it is regularly serviced and checked. However, there are plenty of solutions your solicitor can provide as a seller, and appropriate advice for you as a buyer. If you have any concerns your first point of contact should always be your solicitor who will be able to help.

It is very important to ensure that you have the right solicitor working on your behalf when it comes to conveyancing.  You can search for an SRA regulated solicitor without having to provide any of your personal data here at or read our free guidance on “Choosing a solicitor when buying or selling a house” or “Make sure your lawyer is regulated – how do you know?”. We also provide you with their Trustpilot reviews so that you can look at what previous clients have said about their experiences working with them.  You might also have other questions about buying or selling a property or other legal matters? We have lots of free guidance to help you better understand your legal needs at and you might be surprised at what you learn.

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