Failure to comply with gas and other safety standards in rented properties are likely to be less tolerated by the regulator once landlords are given more flexibility and freedoms in ensuring routine gas safety checks are carried out on time.
On 6 April 2018, new regulations will be introduced that amend the gas safety regulations that came into play in 1998.The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 are not aimed at reducing or relaxing safety standards, but to allow greater flexibility over when regular checks are carried out.
In future, the annual gas safety check can be carried out in the two months before the due date while retaining the existing expiry date.
The aim is to avoid last minute checks, not being able to gain access, or having to shorten the annual cycle check to comply with the law.
John Cox, a partner at law firm Bevan Brittan, said: “These amendments should not be construed as an attempt to dilute the consequences of failure to inspect on time. Given the serious consequences for failure to undertake inspections by their due date, this is an attempt to support landlords in overcoming some of the difficulties of gaining access.
“It can be difficult to coordinate the availability of an engineer with the approval of access by the tenant. In addition, landlords often try to keep the appointment as close to the renewal date as possible, to avoid any days where the existing and new certificate overlap.
“But in future, it is possible that any failure to comply with the more flexible amended regulations could mean the regulator – Homes England [formerly the HCA] would see a breach as a fundamental failing for which there is absolutely no excuse.”