Gas safety delays putting tenants at risk
Almost half of the tenants privately renting property have not had a gas and heating safety check in the past year. Despite this being a legal requirement for landlords, essential for the safety of renters, huge numbers have not had a safety test on their boilers and appliances.
Research by property management company Plentific revealed that 46% of private tenants report that their annual gas safety certificate has lapsed. A third also claimed they do not have the required number of smoke alarms in their homes.
The problem is worse for private tenants than those in social housing, though some 18% of such renters report the same issue in the survey.
The causes and consequences of gas safety check failings
Delays in accessing properties during the coronavirus pandemic are a major reason for the problem, but there is no government guidance to suggest you can postpone checks.
That means large numbers of landlords are putting their tenants in potential danger from faulty gas fittings, as well as putting themselves at risk of fines and even a prison sentence.
Landlords are legally responsible for carrying out the annual check. If they have difficulty accessing properties, they must be able to demonstrate that they have made sufficient attempts to undertake the inspections. There is nothing to say that Covid-19 restrictions are a reason not to have made such an attempt.
Landlords must also provide a smoke alarm on each floor of the property as well as a carbon monoxide alarm within the residence.
The gas safety inspection situation now for landlords
The backlog of gas safety inspections is likely to see an upturn in activity as pent up demand for the annual check grows.
Gas services in Greater Manchester are one example of the situation nationwide. Recently, Wigan Council issued letters to council house residents urging them to book their own appointments to bring certificates back up to date.
The local authority pointed to a six-week delay at the beginning of lockdown measures as one reason for the number of properties without a check. They also said that they had had problems accessing the homes of people reluctant to allow tradespeople in, fearing Covid transmission.