My property needs the Annual Gas Safety Inspection to be done in 2 weeks time. However, my dilemma is I don’t to delay the inspection but also don’t want to cause my tenants unnecessary possible exposure to the Coronavirus when the Gas Safety engineer visits the property. Bearing in mind that these engineers will visit several properties in a single day.
Given the government instructions these days regarding Social Distancing guidelines, what are the legal implications from delaying these inspections and for how long. Also what the legal implications from a landlord’s insurance protection should god forbid the tenants to get infected as a result of the engineer’s visit ?
Hi Arref, great question and one that will be affecting many landlords.
We’ve not had anything through from authorities in England & Wales, but Scotland have advised:
Q: What should we do if we are unable to deliver a particular service, such as a gas service and safety check, electrical safety inspection, or undertake an emergency repair, because a tenant is self-isolating or has the virus and refuses to give entry?
A: You should use your best efforts to deliver the service, undertake the safety check or make the repair. However, if you are unable to do so you should record this fact and that this is related to the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak. You should consider retrying as soon as is possible and appropriate, having full regard for advice on self-isolation, hygiene and distancing and make sure that you reflect the level of such instances in your performance reporting.
You will want to maintain good communication with tenants affected so they are clear on what action you are taking and the timescales for this.
I hope this helps,
Thanks for this. How to we “record” this? I probably could get someone to go to my property to do a gas inspection, but it would probably put the engineer and my tenant at unnecessary risk. However, I don’t want to be fined for non compliance.
Hi. I assume making a note of it date and time etc.
We too need the gas safety certificate. We are in an area where the licensing is in effect and I am going to email the council officer tomorrow to ask what the rules are. That way hopefully we will cover ourselves. Even if you don’t have licensing where you are perhaps,you could still call, or even better email, the housing department? Then you will have a written record. Then record the call/email on your piece of paper!
Thank you. That’s helpful.
I sent this email to my tenant which might be of use to others in this forum too.
This is to inform you that the Annual Gas Safety Inspection which is due next month on DD/MM/YY
will be delayed.
Although, it is very important to conduct this inspection on an annual basis, it’s equally important to safeguard you and your family from any unnecessary discomfort or possible exposure to the Coronavirus from external sources outside your household.
Given the latest government instructions regarding Self Isolation & Social Distancing guidelines, I hope you will agree with me that delaying the inspection is the safest option for now until we get clearer instructions on how and when to proceed.
Meanwhile, If you need any urgent maintenance, suspect that something might need attention or simply to discuss this delay, please feel free to contact me immediately.
Kindly, reply to this email to confirm that you have read it and understand the reason for the delay.
That’s great Arref, thanks for sharing!
That’s really good. I might borrow that for our ‘children’. Sorry, tenants!
My gas safety inspection was already booked for 27 March and British Gas still came. They called beforehand and said that the tenants should open the door and walk away into another room and that he and the tenants should not be in the same room at any point.
The Gas Safety Certificate for my tenants is due next month. I asked the firm who do it what their policy was and they replied that as it was the law that it has to be done it will go ahead as planned. If there is “an incident” due to a fault that could have been foreseen during a test the landlord could be in serious trouble. I believe all tests should be done until and unless the Government states otherwise. We can’t change the law on a whim. Opening the door and vacating the room sound like excellent advice.
Update to my advice - my own boiler is in the cellar which is accessed from outside the house, so I thought it was an ideal time to get it serviced since the engineers will have had a lot of jobs cancelled. I am sooooo glad I did because he came and looked and discovered that the burner seal had gone and it had started to melt some of the other components, so he had to disconnect it there and then. I was lucky it had not burst into flames! So, I would say, don’t delay your gas certs unless you absolutely have to because if that had been a rental property and it had burnt the house down it doesn’t bear thinking about!
Safety Checks can continue , provided that the GOV.UK guidance on social distancing is followed. For different scenarios including a gas leak see this link (call the gas emergency service provider on 0800 111 999) and government advice to landlords and tenants page 19.
In other words: In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, eg refusal of access due to tenants self-isolating, or if you are unable to engage a registered gas / elec 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 should 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. If you are unable to secure the services of your usual engineers, you must make reasonable attempts to obtain alternative services. Landlords will need to assess the risks for each situation on a case-by-case basis.
I think it goes over-board, but that is the ruling
Initially, the tenant was not comfortable to allow someone outside the household to enter the property to carry out the inspection. However, a month later and as the government guidelines became clearer and people understood social distancing rules, the tenants were happy to go ahead with the inspection.
All communication emails to delay and reschedule the inspection were documented and agreed to by both parties (tenant & landlord).