It gives me pleasure to share some good news for landlords with respect to proposed changes to landlord gas safety regulations and responsibilities.
Current landlord gas safety responsibilities. If the property is supplied with gas, a landlord has the responsibility to ensure the gas appliances are safe and checked by a qualified GasSafe registered engineer.
The gas engineer is to issue a gas safety certificate confirming the appliances have been tested and are safe to use. A copy of said certificate is to be given to the tenant.
The landlord thereafter has the responsibility to have an annual gas safety check with a new certificate issued after each annual visit.
Problems with gas safety renewals
The issue of timing and validity of the gas safety certificate has caused concern for many landlords, tenants, agents and engineers.
Typically, it can be a challenge to co-ordinate the availability of an engineer and a tenant as well as trying to keep the appointment as close to the renewal date as possible in order to avoid any ‘wasted’ days where the existing and the new certificate overlap.
For example, the existing gas safety certificate is due to expire on the 30th of March. The only available appointment with the engineer is the 15th March. This means that the landlord has lost in effect 2 weeks of the original certificate.
Proposed changes to landlord gas safety regulations
The proposed changes, which do not relax regulatory requirements or reduce safety standards, is to introduce a degree of flexibility to the timing of landlords’ annual gas safety checks.
A new MOT-style certificate means that landlords can carry out the annual gas safety check in the two months before the due date and retain the existing expiry date.
So, if your gas safety check is due on the 30th of March but it is carried out on the 15th of March, the new certificate will retain the 30th March expiry date and there will be no foreshortening of the inspection period.
This will also make it far simpler to keep track of the renewal date going forward as it will always be the same date!
This also avoids landlords having to wait until the last minute and not gaining access, or having to shorten the annual cycle to comply with the law.
When are the changes to landlord gas safety regulations happening?
Subject to Parliament approval (which seems likely), the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 will come into force on 6 April 2018.
The current legislation will continue to apply up to and including 5 April 2018, along with the Approved Code of Practice and guidance supporting it.
The HSE have published a draft copy of the new approved code of practice which is available to download here.