Last week we blogged about an important legal case, which centred on gas safety certificates. In Trecarrell House Ltd v Rouncefield the Court of Appeal found that not providing a gas safety certificate before a tenant moves in does not prevent a landlord from serving a Section 21 notice as long as the certificate has been given at some point during the period of occupation.
Good news for landlords and clarification of a legal point that wasn’t particularly clear. Compliance with the gas safety regulations is a legal obligation for landlords, and to make this absolutely clear, the HSE has a handy guide to gas safety on its website, which focuses on the special circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak. The advice is really helpful so we thought we would share it with you.
Landlords should all be up to speed with their legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances, do annual gas safety checks and keep a record of each safety check. But the HSE recognises that it may be difficult to carry out these checks at the moment because, despite the lifting of lockdown restrictions, some tenants are still shielding or self-isolating. So landlords must use their common sense and weigh up the risk to the safety of the household and the public presented by a potentially faulty gas system, versus the risk to tenants’ health from possible infection.
The Gas Safety Register has drawn up guidelines for landlords that include a set of scenarios to help you decide how best to tackle your compliance obligations. The law is flexible and where it’s not possible to carry out a gas check, it should be acceptable to document that you took reasonable steps to do so. However, the advice also clearly states that landlords should not simply suspend all gas safety checks for the duration of the pandemic. We could find ourselves living with Covid-19 for many months and ignoring health & safety issues risks endangering tenants unnecessarily.
So if you’re worried about making sure your gas safety certificates are up-to-date, read the guidance – it’s very comprehensive and well worth five minutes of your time. And as we said last week, to make compliance even easier why not use our cloud-based platform PlanetRent to ensure all your rental properties are fully up-to-date with current legislation. It’s very user-friendly and you can access it via a mobile phone or tablet, as well as your laptop. It’s pay-as-you-go and there’s no subscription to pay, so download it today and make renting easier for you and your tenants.
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