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Landlords call for extension to safety certificates

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Landlords are calling for a six-month extension to the validity of all gas and electrical safety certificates to cover for the impact of the coronavirus. 

This comes in response to a survey showing that 38 per cent of landlords are struggling to source maintenance contractors to undertake required work and just over a third are having difficulties undertaking work in their properties because of either themselves, or their tenants, self-isolating.

Tenant concerns

With tenants also concerned about letting people into their rental properties, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) is calling for gas and electrical safety certificates expiring over the six months period from 1st April to be extended for six months.

This would be in line with the government’s approach to MOT certificates. 

This would provide the time that landlords need to ensure routine, but legally binding checks, can take place at a point when the danger of spreading the virus in rental properties is at least reduced.

The NRLA is also calling on the government to delay until next year the introduction of new routine Electrical Installation Condition Reports which are due to come into force from 1st July. 

These will involve inspectors checking the wiring in all rooms of a property, possibly taking a number of hours, making it impossible for tenants to properly isolate. 

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, said: “Whilst landlords should ensure that urgent work to ensure properties are safe for tenants is carried out, routine maintenance and checks need to be delayed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Extending the life of gas and electrical safety certificates will protect landlords and tenants from unnecessary contact and provide landlords with legal protection from enforcement action where they are simply unable to get such work undertaken through no fault of their own.”  

More information

For more information on coronavirus and your lettings visit the NRLA’s dedicated coronavirus pages, which can be found here.

The NRLA is also running a series of weekly webinars exploring how landlords can manage their portfolios and businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak. For more information click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

7 Comments

  • An extension seems obvious and I don’t know why it hasn’t been done yet, as per MoTs. I cancelled my double (gas/elec) inspection towards the end of this month, to delay it, as we have a medic in our household who treats covid-19 patients daily, so thought it best to keep the engineers as safe as possible. This puts me out of date by about a month, as 27th May is next available appointment. My landlord management agency now wants me to sign a waiver. I think asking the tenant to take on the liability because we acted to safeguard the engineers, is ludicrous. An extension to these certificates would solve this for a lot of landlords/tenants/engineers alike.

  • @Kevin, do check the wording of the waiver – I think & hope your landlord / management agency are NOT asking you to take on any liability, simply to put on record the fact that landlord and agency are not at fault (i.e. not committing a criminal offence). If you are not happy with the wording they want you to sign, I’d suggest doing your own formal “to whom it may concern” letter detailing WHY you felt a need to break/refuse the existing appointment, THAT you tried to reschedule for earliest possible thereafter, and THAT you managed to arrange a new appointment for . And get that to both the landlord AND the agent, email should be good enough.

    I emphatically agree that these should be treated like MOTs – including the ongoing responsibility (of car owner, or of landlord) to ensure that things stay safe.
    But it always needs to be YOUR responsibility to make them aware of any problems, because they are not psychic!
    And it is also YOUR responsibility to check heat & smoke alarm/s (and CO alarm/s if present), and probably also to replace the batteries in the alarms if necessary.

  • I have a contract with British Gas (Homeowners II) that covers the visit for GSC for both the boiler and the hob. Currently they are not offering annual service visits, and the GSC in my rental property is due 2nd June. I do not want to pay a local guy to come and do the work (if I can find one and then if my tenant agrees to have someone in their home) when I’ve already paid for it and it’s out of my control. I agree that GSC should be treated like MOTs – a 6 month extension to the current expiry date.

  • The latest advice from the HSE tells us that they are quite aware there are difficulties in obtaining qualified personnel to undertake CP12’s and Electrical condition reports checks. The advice goes on to state that as long as you can show that you have made all reasonable attempts to gain access (where tenant is self isolating or is shielded) or engage a suitably qualified engineer and have not been able to do so., a record of these regular attempts to comply with the regulations will be accepted as a reason for the certs to pass their review dates.

    This does not discharge the Landlord of their duties, but it can be used to show you have made all reasonable efforts, to comply. The HSE is not inclined to prosecute where real, traceable evidence has been kept about this. The HSE has stated it expects everyone to catch up asap when it becomes possible to do so.

  • I have a property due a gas inspection by the end of this month and I have no idea what to communicate to my tenant. What are other people doing?
    Many thanks

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