More flexibility for gas safety certificates.
Are you aware, laws on gas safety records changed earlier this year (April 2018), these only apply to England and Wales. As part of these changes you need to ensure you know when your gas safety check is carried out. As with any new legislation there always appears to be a little confusion, at least until someone is prosecuted.
It is worth noting that the following information does not change a landlord’s legal obligation to carry out an annual gas safety check. The new regulations allow a window of opportunity for landlords to apply a new MOT style process instead of having a safety record running between specific annual dates, giving some additional flexibility, in addition this will allow you to carry out any checks up to two months before the annual check. a new MoT style check allows landlords to carry out the work up to two months before the due date but keep the same annual check date. We all know how hard it can be to get a certified plumber to visit on a particular date, so this could be a positive, on the downside it could mean keeping additional records.
When I first read about this, I was a little confused as to why anyone would want to test early as it would only bring costs forwards, once I read further into the legislation I realised that the deadline date does not change. You can complete your safety check early but the annual deadline date remains.
The reasoning behind the amendments to the legislation is to help landlords plan their checks and not wait to the last minute to keep the annual date.
However the HSC wish to point out that it is important to remember that there is only a two month window, if you carry out the safety check before the two month window, then you will be resetting the annual deadline date. Additionally they have reminded us that not having a current gas safety check in any tenanted property is an offence. If you have a period where no tenant is present and the deadline date expires, a new deadline date applies as soon as you have the safety check carried out.
When it comes to replacing individual appliances then there is a element of discretion and you may have them safety checked two months after the deadline date, myself I would not want to test the courts on their interpretation of discretion. I would organise myself to bring everything into alignment and have one deadline date so not to miss anything.
I have copied the wording from the HSC, what would you do?
only once in relation to each appliance or flu; and
only in order to align the deadline date in relation to the next safety check of that appliance or flue
(2) Subject to paragraph (3), the landlord may ensure that an appliance or flue is checked for safety within the 2 month period beginning with the deadline date, instead of checking it within the 12 month period ending with that date.
(3) The discretion conferred by paragraph (2) may be exercised –
(a) only once in relation to each appliance or flue in the relevant premises; and
(b) only in order to align the deadline date in relation to the next safety check of that appliance or flue with the deadline date in relation to the next safety check of any other appliance or flue in the same relevant premises.
Here is the relative sting in the tail, now the last two records must be kept by the landlord, myself I would keep longer records to be safe.
The new rules will more likely benefit landlords with larger portfolios as they could bring properties into alignment. However the private landlord with only one property will benefit as the new regulations provide a degree of flexibility.