Under regulation 36 The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, it is a requirement for all landlords to ensure all gas appliances, flues or pipework is checked for safety within 12 months of install and at intervals of not more than 12 months since the last check. A gas safety record must be produced by the Gas Safe Register engineer showing the findings of the check.
This strict time-scale can make it difficult for landlords to obtain a plumber and arrange access for precisely the next 12 month date. In most cases landlords arrange a gas safety earlier than needs be to ensure they are within 12 months but this means that over several years, the gas safety record gets earlier and earlier. Over time, half a year can easily be lost effectively punishing good landlords who are getting the record done within plenty of time.
Now, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is looking at all options to fix this problem. The proposal that is looking most promising is an ‘MOT’ style record being allowed whereby the record can be obtained 1 or 2 months earlier and that will be regarded as a 13 / 14 month record. This means the next time it will be due will remain 12 months from the previous ‘record’ date and not the date it was necessarily ‘last checked’.
We have also suggested that landlords who install ‘A rated’ energy efficient combination boilers might have a period of more than 12 months to carry out the first check. On a car MOT it’s 3 years from new. We see a lot of boilers on their first check and only a year in is excessive in our view. They are immaculately clean inside and I’ve never seen a problem in the first year. We have proposed that the first check should only be needed in the first 2 or 3 years of install and thereafter within every 12 months. By suggesting this is only available on an A rated combination boiler means only the most efficient and simple boilers would be included which might act as an incentive.
In order to assist with the current consultation process (which isn’t even a formal consultation at this stage – it is literally just ideas at the moment), the HSE has asked for help from Guild members. They have produced a questionnaire which will help produce ideas and thoughts for more formal proposals down the line.
If members would like to, they can download the questionnaire and when completed email it back to us at info[at]landlordsguild.com. We will ensure it gets to the right people.
There is no official deadline (because it’s not an official consultation) but we will be attending a meeting about the proposals on 10 May so any that we have by then will be given to the HSE.
In summary, the survey will allow the following broad questions to be answered:
- How long does it take private landlords – either as individuals or via their letting agents – to access their properties to undertake the annual gas safety check?
- What’s the average cost of an annual gas safety check? And how do private landlords tend to pay for them – individually, as standalone items, or as part of a wider service contract?
- Do private landlords experience ‘programme slippage’ costs similar to those of social landlords?
- Are private landlords likely to experience logistical savings due to less zig-zagging between addresses by gas safety engineers?
- How long is it going to take private landlords to familiarise themselves with the new MOT-style landlord gas safety check system?
- Are private landlords likely to experience additional costs due to changing their IT systems if a MOT-style landlord gas safety check system was introduced?
Miles Burger from the HSE said:
Any and all information you could provide would be hugely helpful and ensure that the subsequent impact assessment (IA) is suitably robust and well-informed.