Changes to annual gas inspections create an 'MOT-style' approach
As of the 2018-19 tax year, the rules around annual gas inspections have changed and the good news is that this is a piece of legislation that benefits landlords.
Until 6th April this year, a gas safety certificate was valid for 12 months from the date it was issued. That put some pressure on landlords to try to get hold of an engineer who could carry out the check as close as possible to the expiry date of the current certificate. And, because good engineers tend to be booked up well in advance, many landlords ended up having to take an earlier appointment, which was often several weeks before the renewal date. That meant you could find yourself essentially ‘losing’ time that you’d already paid for.
But now the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 have come into force, bringing an ‘MOT-style’ approach to the annual inspection. Under this new legislation, landlords can have the check any time in the 2 months before the current certificate expires and still retain its original expiry date.
For example, if your gas safety certificate expires on 15th August 2018, you could have the annual check on 17th June 2018 and the renewal date would still be 15th August 2019.
This change in the law benefits landlords in three key ways:
- You no longer have to worry about trying to find an engineer who can carry out the inspection as close to the expiry date as possible; you now have a two-month window
- You don’t ‘lose’ any of the 12 months you’ve already paid for
- It’s easier to keep track of your administration because the expiry date will always be the same.
Be aware that if you get your timings wrong and have the annual check outside this two-month window, it will ‘reset the clock’ and a new 12-month period will begin from the date on the certificate. And, given that there is now absolutely no excuse for not having a valid certificate, any landlord found to be in breach of the law is likely to be heavily penalised by their local authority, so make sure your paperwork is always up to date.
One final thing to know is that you must now keep hold of the record of the last two gas safety checks. While it is the gas engineer’s duty to date the certificate, it is your legal duty as the landlord to be able to demonstrate that the checks were made within the required timescales.
Needless to say, if we manage your Buy to Let, you don’t need to worry. We have long-standing relationships with reliable gas engineers and already have systems in place for renewing certificates on or just before the expiry date. If you would like to hold hard copies of the last two gas safety certificates for your property, either pop into your local branch or you can download copies via our landlord portal.