Covid 19 and Gas Safety Checks
The COVID-19 pandemic in the UK may make it more difficult for landlords to arrange annual safety checks in some cases, as tenants may need to self-isolate for 14 days or longer periods, and as registered gas engineers availability reduces due to the same measures.
The Safe Register has advised that the latest restrictions on leaving the home, announced by the UK government on 23 March 2020 currently allow Registered Gas Engineers to undertake essential work, whilst taking the appropriate precautions advised to avoid spreading or contracting the virus in a new setting.
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) have stated that:
“Landlords have 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 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.
“In the event, you are unable to gain access to the property, e.g. persistent refusal of access due to vulnerable tenants self-isolating, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law and that you are seeking to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are able. This will need to include records of communication with the tenant, and details of your engineers attempt to gain access.”
The Gas Safety Register advice for landlords
“Where inspections or investigations must take place, our inspectors are taking a range for precautions to protect the public and engineers that they come into contact with, as well as themselves. These are based on the guidance provided on Gov.uk, and include;
- Personal protective equipment, frequent handwashing with soap or use of alcohol hand sanitising gel. Inspectors visiting sites, confirm prior to entering the property, whether anyone is self-isolating, or has been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has recently gone into self-isolation?
- If the answer is ‘yes’, then the inspection will be cancelled and recorded as an aborted visit and held for rescheduling at a later date.
- In addition, if the inspector visiting a site suspects anything that makes them feels uncomfortable with the situation then they can retreat from the site and follow the steps above.”
You may wish to visit the Gas Safe website to should you require further clarification.
A landlord must continue to comply with their obligations where it is safe to do so and in accordance with the guidance of the Government as to the prevention of spreading or contracting the coronavirus.
Source: Landlord Advice UK
Author: Mark White
Date: 27th of March 2020