What should landlords know about the changes to Gas Safety Regulations?
In April 2018 the rules and regulations relating to gas safety records in England and Wales changed under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018.
It was found that on average, landlords were carrying out 11 checks every 10 years, instead of the statutory 10. While the obligations for landlords remain the same, the changes are designed to remove this unnecessary financial burden for landlords, introducing a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to carrying out multiple gas appliance safety checks.
A new MOT-style certificate enables landlords to carry out the annual gas safety check within two months of the expiry date, but retain the existing date. This not only makes it a lot simpler to remember the renewal date (also known as deadline date), as it will remain the same, but there will be no foreshortening of the inspection period.
As the date remains the same, this can also help landlords avoid being denied access to a property as they have a longer window. It also avoids them having to shorten the annual cycle in order to comply with the law. In addition, it ensures that the safety of the tenant is not compromised.
However, this new renewal style is only available to landlords who can prove that the two previous checks were carried out on time.
Have my rights about entering the property changed?
It is still up to the landlord to liaise with tenants to ensure they are granted sufficient access to their property in order to carry out the gas safety check on time. If there are any issues, or access is denied, it is advisable to keep records of all steps carried out should you need to demonstrate your actions. If a tenant continues to refuse access, then it may be wise to take legal action, as the tenant will be in breach of contract.
What about replacing appliances, or those owned by the tenant?
If an individual appliance is replaces in the property then the gas safety record for that appliance may be completed up to two months after the deadline date. However, this may be done only once for each appliance and only to align deadline dates for gas safety checks, thus saving the landlord time and money, but also reducing the inconvenience for the tenant.
If the gas appliances belong to the tenant, then the landlord is still legally obliged to check the safety of the gas installation itself, although they are not liable for any faults to the actual appliance as it is the tenant’s responsibility.