I’m a landlord. How do I comply with Regulation 36 of the Gas Safety Regulations 1998 during the coronavirus outbreak?
Under their obligations arising from Regulation 36 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, landlords must service domestic gas appliances on an annual basis and provide tenants with a record of the service within 28 days of that service. Failure to comply can result in prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or downgrading by the Regulator.
We know how important this is. But how can you comply with your obligations during the Covid-19 epidemic?
The latest restrictions on leaving the home, currently allow registered gas engineers to undertake essential work, whilst taking the appropriate precautions advised to avoid spreading or contracting the virus in a new setting.
If your visa has expired or will do before you are able to safely leave the UK, you can apply for “Exceptional Indemnity” by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Team. You will need to provide evidence as to why you cannot leave, which could include a positive Covid-19 test or evidence of being unable to make travel arrangements to leave the UK in time.
You should note that “Exceptional Indemnity” does not extend your leave, but temporarily protects you from adverse action being made against you as result of overstaying your visa.
Ultimately closing a service will be a decision that is taken at the highest level and that decision will depend on risk appetite. Often these types of higher risk are mitigated by way of insurance but that still depends on an insurer being willing to accept that risk. This decision will depend on accepting a known risk and its consequences.
Companies House guidance on the impact of coronavirus on their services can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-guidance-for-companies-house-customers-employees-and-suppliers
This flexibility offered by Companies House could be a useful short-term help to businesses that are struggling to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, but be sure to take action in advance of your filing deadline.
An employer has a duty of care to its workforce and must take reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of employees. Employers also have a duty of care towards anyone entering or using their place of business, such as visiting clients or customers.
This means that if an employer reasonably believes that wearing face masks at work is appropriate and necessary, it can issue an instruction to employees to this effect and employees should abide by this as far as possible.
However employers should be cautious about introducing and enforcing a policy across its business which requires its staff to wear face masks as there is the risk of unlawfully discriminating against people who are exempt from wearing face coverings or have legitimate reasons for not doing so. An employer should also consider the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees and discuss any concerns raised by employees who do not want to or feel unable to wear a mask.
On 18 March 2020, the Government announced that it would pass emergency legislation which would prevent landlords, both social and private, from bringing possession proceedings against tenants who are unable to pay their rent. The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, stated that “no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.”
The announcement came after several organisations, including housing charity Shelter, expressed concerns that more than 50,000 households could face possession proceedings due to the economic uncertainty following the Covid-19 outbreak.