Landlords are to be given greater flexibility in ensuring that annual gas safety checks are conducted in time under new rules.
However, failure to comply with gas and other safety standards in private rental properties are less likely to be tolerated once this freedom is introduced.
On 6th April 2018, new regulations will be introduced that amend current gas safety rules, which came into force in 1998. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 are not aimed at reducing or relaxing safety standards, but allow greater flexibility as to when checks are carried out.
In the future, annual gas safety checks can be conducted in the two months before the due date, while retaining the existing expiry date.
The aim is to avoid last-minute checks, the landlord not being able to gain access to the property, and having to shorten the annual cycle check to comply with the law.
John Cox, a Partner at law firm Bevan Brittan, comments on the new rules: “These amendments should not be construed as an attempt to dilute the consequences of failure to inspect on time. Given the serious consequences for failure to undertake inspections by their due date, this is an attempt to support landlords in overcoming some of the difficulties of gaining access.
“It can be difficult to coordinate the availability of an engineer with approval of access by the tenant. In addition, landlords often try to keep the appointment as close to the renewal date as possible, to avoid any days where the existing and new certificate overlap.”
He continues: “But, in future, it is possible that any failure to comply with the more flexible amended regulations could mean the regulator – Homes England [formerly the HCA] – would see a breach as a fundamental failing for which there is absolutely no excuse.”
Landlords, we remind you to continue keeping up with your legal responsibilities, despite the more relaxed regulations.