Electrical check

GAS AND ELECTRIC CHECKS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

If you are a landlord or if you are renting and expecting a gas safety check or a new electrical safety check in the coming weeks, you may be unsure whether it should go ahead. The UK Government has now released new guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities regarding gas and electric checks during the outbreak of Coronavirus. This guidance explains the steps landlords will need to take to ensure they meet their legal obligations and makes it clear how tenants can help.

I’m a tenant, what are gas and electrical checks?

Your landlord legally must ensure your heating and electrics are safe by carrying out regular inspections, once a year for your heating and once every five years for your electrics 

For your heating, an engineer who is on the Gas Safe Register will visit the property to carry out a gas safety check, which could be described as an MOT but for your boiler. They will do a thorough check of the whole heating system to ensure it’s completely safe and in good working order. Some of the checks include:

  • Testing the heating system pressure
  • Examining the flue or chimney connected to the boiler
  • Ensuring the boiler is properly set up and gas is burning correctly
  • Inspecting all the gas pipework

Once they are done, they will provide your landlord with a Gas Safety Report confirming all the checks they’ve made and any work that is required for the boiler and heating system to be up to scratch. It’s good practice for you to receive a copy of this, or something similar, from the engineer or your landlord.

The electrical safety check is a new requirement that came into force on 1 June 2020 and is to be carried out every five years. Much the same as the gas safety check, an electrician will carry out a thorough examination of the electrical system in your property and produce an Electrical Safety Report for your landlord.

For both reports, if any faults are found your landlord has 28 days to rectify them, normally with an additional engineer visit.

Carrying out checks or rectifying faults during the coronavirus

If a landlord cannot carry out either the initial checks or the follow-up work, they must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law. Government guidance says if landlords can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the regulations, they are not in breach. This includes the duty to carry out remedial work.

It is important for tenants to work with your landlords to ensure that gas and electrical safety checks can go ahead over the coming weeks wherever possible. However, the availability of contractors, any persons involved falling ill or self-isolating or a change in political circumstances could all make that unfeasible. If anyone involved is self-isolating you must let all parties know immediately so any appointments can be rearranged.

If you are a new tenant, landlords must still provide you with all necessary gas and electrical safety certification documents at the beginning of your tenancy, as well as carrying out all scheduled inspections and tests where required. For your safety, where inspections have already been carried out, documents can be provided by post or in some circumstances it may be possible to provide digital copies.

As a landlord, How can I show that I've taken all reasonable steps to comply?

The Government's guidance says that in relation to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2020, if a landlord can show they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the regulations, they are not in breach. This includes duty to comply with a remedial notice.

For example, you could show reasonable steps by keeping copies of all communications you have had with your tenants and tradespeople as you have tried to arrange the work, including any replies you have had. You may also want to provide other evidence you have that the installation, appliance or flue is in a good condition while they attempt to arrange works.

The Government is encouraging local authorities to take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to enforcement in these unprecedented times. Tenants will need to remain patient while their Landlord tries to arrange a safe time to carry out any checks and remedial work in the coming weeks or months.

If you have any concerns regarding your property during the Coronavirus pandemic, you can always reach out to your letting agent for support and advice. You can also find more property related advice and guides that can help you during the pandemic on our dedicated Coronavirus help page, including our guide on maintenance, repairs and the upkeep of your property during the coronavirus outbreak.

Keep up to date

If you have any concerns regarding your property during the Coronavirus pandemic, you can always reach out to your letting agent for support and advice. You can also find more property related advice and guides that can help you during the pandemic on our dedicated Coronavirus help pageincluding our guide on maintenance, repairs and the upkeep of your property during the coronavirus outbreak.

 

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