Covid-19: Latest guidance for landlord safety checks


If you are a landlord that needs to perform a gas safety check or a new electrical safety check in the coming weeks, you may be unsure whether it should go ahead during the current national lockdown.
Covid-19: Latest guidance for landlord safety checks

Landlords Lockdown

Are you a landlord who needs to perform a gas safety check or an electrical safety check during lockdown? You may be unsure how to comply with your legal requirements during lockdown.

First, consider whether the work is essential or if you can delay it until after the lockdown.

This implies that you should postpone most routine inspections unless they pertain to a legal obligation. This encompasses gas or electrical safety inspections or reports of needed repairs.

Landlords must continue to fulfil their legal obligation to maintain their property in good repair and conduct inspections. However, you must balance this with the risk of infection and virus transmission.

Latest guidance for Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR)

Landlords have until 1st April 2021 to ensure rental properties have a valid EICR with any remedial works already carried out and copies of this paperwork given to tenants.

The pandemic has not changed this legal obligation.

Landlords must obtain a valid EICR with a ‘satisfactory’ rating from a qualified electrician. You must provide it to the prospective tenant before their tenancy agreement starts, or to existing tenants within 28 days of the electrical inspection.

If a landlord cannot arrange the initial checks or follow-up work, they must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law.

Latest guidance for gas safety checks

Landlords legally must care for their tenants by actively repairing and maintaining gas pipework, flues, and appliances in a safe condition and by ensuring they perform an annual gas safety check

During lockdown, landlords should not suspend all gas safety checks as it will put tenants at risk, especially as people are spending most of their time at home.

However, there is a balance between keeping people protected from potentially fatal gas-related risks, and also from Covid-19. Therefore, considered each property on a case-by-case basis, completing safety checks where tenants permit access and gas engineers are available.

If a landlord cannot arrange gas checks, they must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to comply.

How does a landlord show they have taken reasonable steps to comply?  

If you cannot carry out the appropriate checks or remedial works, because the tenants are self-isolating, refuse access, or due to shortages of inspectors, then you should show reasonable steps to perform work.

Keep copies of all communications with your tenants and tradespeople showing you have tried to arrange the work, including replies.

It's advisable to provide evidence of the appliance or flue's good condition while you attempt to arrange work.

You should seek to arrange the safety checks as soon as all parties are available.

 How can I arrange repairs or safety inspections safely during lockdown?  

Repairs and inspections can be performed provided Government guidance for people working in homes is followed.

That means ensuring everyone follows social distancing practices and the inspector, tenants, or landlord are not symptomatic at the time.

If a visit is essential then you should ensure tenants understand social distancing and hygiene measures required.

Anyone self-isolating should not have any visitors unless the repair work would prevent a threat to their safety or life.

If the tenant is self-isolating, you should cancel any planned visits or inspections and rearrange them for a suitable time. Ensure you document this.

If possible, you should arrange safety inspections while the tenant is not home to limit the risk of infection.

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