Gas & electrical testing during Covid-19

Gas & electrical testing during Covid-19

What landlords need to know and the good news for Vision clients…

We have received a number of queries from landlords in relation to their ongoing obligations for annual gas safety checks during the Covid-19 outbreak and also the upcoming electrical safety regulations coming into force for new tenancies on 1 July 2020. These obligations present a number of challenges, for example, accessing properties where tenants are self-isolating and ensuring engineers are available and can carry out checks safely.

Over the weekend of 28 and 29 March, the Government released the following guidance:

Landlords should make every effort to follow existing gas safety regulations and the electrical safety regulations which come into force on 1 July. Both regulations allow for situations where a landlord cannot carry out their obligations and they must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law.

Landlords must also provide tenants with all necessary gas and electrical safety and any other relevant certification documents at the beginning of a tenancy (and carry out all scheduled inspections and tests where required). Where inspections have already been carried out, documents can be provided by post or in some circumstances it may be possible to provide digital copies.

The guidance says that in relation to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2020, if a landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the regulations, they are not in breach. This includes duty to comply with a remedial notice. A landlord could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications they have had with their tenants and with contractors as they tried to arrange the work, including any replies they have had. Landlords may also want to provide other evidence they have that the installation, appliance or flue is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works.

For clients who use our Management Service, our Property Management software flags up well in advance when gas checks are due, which gives us plenty of time to plan the checks with landlords, make access arrangements and line up contractors. Our system also records all correspondence with tenants so they can easily be referred back to and used as evidence of trying to arrange the works should this be necessary.