Landlord Gas Safety Checks & COVID-19
As a landlord, you will be well aware of the importance of annual Landlord Gas Safety Checks for your properties. You may well, however have questions or concerns about how the current COVID-19 outbreaks and the restrictions that have been imposed may affect you. Read on to find out more.
Latest guidance for property landlords from the HSE: Landlord Gas Safety Checks
In light of misunderstandings and confusion over the last week, The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has now issued official guidance on this matter, which has now been adopted by the Gas Safe Register, the official registration body for gas engineers.
The responsibility of the Landlord
It is important to highlight the fact that fulll responsibility for keeping Landlord Gas Safety Checks in place and up to date lies solely with the landlord.
Under Regulation 36 of The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998, landlords are legally responsible for the safety of their properties and have a duty of care to their tenants. This means that registered gas engineers are not responsible for Landlord Gas Safety Checks being in place or up to date.
What you need to know as a Landlord
The Official HSE Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for landlords, as updated 27 March 2020, states:
Duty of Care
Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants. This is a legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, and to keep a record of each safety check.
If you can’t access the property
In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, e.g., refusal of access due to tenants self-isolating, or if you are unable to engage a registered gas engineer to carry out the work due to a shortage of available engineers, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. This will need to include records of communication with the tenant and details of your engineers attempts to gain access. You should seek to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are available.
Rules for early gas safety checks
If you anticipate difficulties in gaining access as the COVID-19 situation progresses, you have the flexibility to carry out annual gas safety checks two months before the deadline date. Landlords can have the annual gas safety checks at their properties carried out any time from 10 to 12 calendar months after the previous check and still retain the original deadline date as if the check had been carried out exactly 12 months after the previous check.
You are encouraged to arrange your annual gas safety checks as early as possible, as a contingency against tenants being in self-isolation for a period of 14 days (in line with current guidelines), or gas engineers being unavailable due to illness. The two-month period to carry out annual gas safety checks should provide adequate resilience in most situations.
Provision for necessary work
Current guidance from HM Government concurs that work can still be carried out in people’s homes where necessary, e.g., for reasons of safety, provided that the GOV.UK guidance on social distancing is followed.
Can I have other gas work / servicing done?
Under the current guidance, any work conducted on site should be limited to that which is essential or urgent for the purposes of health & safety and to ensure that the minimum required standard of the property is maintained. For the safety of everybody, we would ask all landlords to consider carefully whether a visit is required at this time.
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