Gas Safety Checks – During COVID-19

This information is correct as of 21.4.20 Changes are happening extremely quickly so please contact us for the latest information.

Landlord Gas Safety Checks do still need to be done, and are still a legal requirement for all rented accommodation. However they can be delayed if a tenant is self isolating in anyway i.e with symptoms, Vulnerable or shielded. In short we strongly advise that you keep records of all communication and correspondence with the tenant, including emails and text messages and arrange for the gas safety check to be completed as soon as possible after the isolation period.

The official guidance from the government for landlords and tenants can be seen here

In the above document it says;

“Landlords should make every effort to abide by existing gas safety regulations and
electrical safety regulations which come into force on 1 July. There are provisions in
both regulations to account for situations in which a landlord cannot do this, and they must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply
with the law.”

“We are encouraging local authorities and other enforcement agencies to take a
pragmatic, common-sense approach to enforcement in these unprecedented times.”

Gas safety (installation and use) Regulations 1998 (as amended) 2018 states the following

Regulation 39 – Exception as to Liability 

“No person shall be guilty of an offence by reason of contravention of regulation 3(2)
or (6), 5(1), 7(3), 15, 16(2) or (3), 17(1), 27(5), 30 (insofar as it relates to the installation
of a gas fire, other gas space heater or a gas water heater of more than 14 kilowatt
gross heat input), 33(1), 35 or 36 of these Regulations in any case in which he can
show that he took all reasonable steps to prevent that contravention.”

This regulation provides certain exceptions as to liability under which a person is not deemed to be guilty of an offence where they can show that they took all reasonable steps to prevent contravention of the provision concerned. Landlord duties concerning gas safety checks come under regulation 36, so in any normal situation if a tenant refuses access on the day the gas safety check should be done then you as the landlord are not in breach of the regulations as long as “all reasonable steps” have been taken to get it done on time. That said, we can do gas safety checks 2 months before they run out and you keep the original expiry date so in normal circumstances although in the regulations it is rarely needed to be used as you can give your gas engineer and tenants plenty of notice that the work needs doing(If you are one of our landlords in Winchester, Southampton, Eastleigh or Andover then you will get a reminder from us when your next inspection is due) it is however for a court to decide whether “all reasonable steps” have in fact been taken in particular circumstances and whether a person is guilty of an offence.

Gas safe register has given the below example Scenario’s on access for Landlord Gas Safety Checks

Vulnerable person

Example: Your tenant informs you that they do not want anyone to come to their home as they fall into the Government’s vulnerable people category (they are aged 70 or over and/or are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus).

What you must do: You can delay completing the landlords gas safety check until after your tenant’s isolation period has ended. You must arrange for this to take place as soon as possible after the isolation period has ended.

You must be able demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to arrange and reschedule the gas safety check; we strongly advise that you keep records of all communication and correspondence with the tenant, including emails and text messages if applicable.

Shielded person

“Example: Your tenant informs you that they do not want anyone to come to their home as they are self-isolating because they fall into the Government’s shielded category, defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. They have been advised to follow strict social distancing measures to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks.

What you must do: You can delay completing the landlords’ gas safety check until after your tenant’s isolation period has ended. You must arrange for this to take place as soon as possible after the isolation period has ended.

You must be able demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to arrange and reschedule the gas safety check; we strongly advise that you keep records of all communication and correspondence with the tenant, including emails and text messages if applicable.”

Tenant Self-isolating for 14 days as their household has a possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

“Example: Your tenant informs you that they do not want anyone to come to their home, as it is possible that someone in their household has the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, and they are self-isolating for 14 days.

What you must do: You can delay completing the landlords’ gas safety check until after your tenant’s isolation period has ended. You must arrange for this to take place as soon as possible after the isolation period has ended.

If, after the 14-day isolation period, it is not possible to complete the checks because another member of the household is now self-isolating, you should again agree a new date for the checks to take place.

You must be able demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to arrange and reschedule the gas safety check; we strongly advise that you keep records of communication and correspondence with the tenant, including emails and text messages if applicable.”

Tenant with family that are social distancing

“Example: Tenant and family with no vulnerable people and have no symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and allow access

What you must do: You should go ahead with the Landlord gas safety check. You should follow the Public Health England guidance on tradespeople and working in people’s homes to manage the safety of your tenants and the registered gas engineer who will be carrying out the checks.

When booking the visit, check whether anyone at the property is self-isolating or has been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or has recently gone into self-isolation. If they have, you will need to arrange a new date for the checks to take place after the self-isolation period has ended. We strongly advise that you keep records of communication and correspondence with the tenant, including emails and text messages if applicable.

What the engineer must do: Registered gas engineers working in the homes of people who are socially distancing, should follow the latest advice on Gov.uk, including guidance on tradespeople and working in people’s homes. They should conduct their own assessment of the risks before entering any property – if they have concerns that the tenants are showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) they should not enter the property and the visit should be rearranged.”

“Example: Tenant & family are socially distancing, have no symptoms but deny access

What you must do: If your tenant denies the engineer access to the property, you must arrange for the gas safety check to take place as soon as possible. You must be able demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to arrange and reschedule the gas safety check; HSE’s usual advice on gaining access applies in these circumstances:

  • leave the tenant a notice stating that an attempt was made to complete the gas safety check and provide your contact details;
  • write to the tenant explaining that a safety check is a legal requirement and that it is for the tenant’s own safety. Give the tenant the opportunity to arrange their own appointment;
  • HSE inspectors will look for repeated attempts to complete the gas safety check, including the above suggestions; however, the approach will need to be appropriate to each circumstance.

We strongly advise that you keep records of communication and correspondence with the tenant, including emails and text messages if applicable.”

The Landlords Gas Safety Checks are due on your tenants home, but you are unable to secure the services of a registered gas engineer to undertake the checks

“What you must do: If you are unable to engage a registered gas engineer to carry out the gas safety checks due to a shortage of available engineers, or because they state they will only undertake emergency break down and repair work, not routine work, you will be expected to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. If your usual engineer will not carry out the gas safety checks, you should contact an alternative registered gas engineer businesses to secure their services.

You should retain records of communication and correspondence with the engineer(s) and the tenant including emails and text messages if applicable. You should arrange for the gas safety checks to be completed as soon as you are able to secure the services of a registered gas engineer and all parties are available.”

Your landlords gas safety check expires in 2 months’ time and you are aware that there may be difficulties in engaging a registered gas engineer, or that tenants could be in situations of self-isolation 

“What you should do: You should try to arrange for the checks to be undertaken in advance of the due date. You have the flexibility to carry out annual gas safety checks two months before the deadline date. Landlords can have the annual gas safety checks at their properties carried out any time from 10 to 12 calendar months after the previous check and still retain the original deadline date as if the check had been carried out exactly 12 months after the previous check.

You are encouraged to arrange your annual gas safety checks as early as possible, as a contingency against tenants being in self-isolation for a period of 14 days (in line with current guidelines), or gas engineers being unavailable due to illness. The two-month period to carry out annual gas safety checks should provide adequate resilience in most situations.

Current guidance from HM Government states that work can still be carried out in people’s homes where necessary, e.g. for reasons of safety, provided that the GOV.UK guidance on social distancing is followed.

You should retain records of communication and correspondence with the tenant including emails and text messages if applicable. You should arrange for the gas safety checks to be completed as soon as possible.”