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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.

Related FAQs

Can you ask employees for evidence of the requirement to self-isolate under the Test and Trace scheme?

Yes, you can ask to see any information/documentation sent to an employee informing them that they should self-isolate.

How do I access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

The scheme is being administered by HMRC under a new online portal that has been set up. It applies to businesses, charities, recruitment agencies, individuals who employ a nanny, administrators (where there is a reasonable likelihood of re-hiring the workers) and public authorities.

All employers with a UK payroll can apply as long as you have:

  • Created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020
  • Enrolled for PAYE online (which can take up to 10 days)
  • A UK bank account.

To make a claim you will need:

  • The number of employees being furloughed
  • The start and end date of the claim
  • The name and National Insurance Numbers for each furloughed employee
  • Your employer PAYE reference number
  • To be registered for PAYE online
  • The Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference, Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number as appropriate for your entity
  • Your UK bank account details and sort code
  • Your name and contact number
  • Your organisation’s registered name
  • Your organisation’s billing address
  • The full amounts you are claiming for including:
    • Employee wages
    • Employer national insurance contributions
    • Employer minimum pension contributions

For claims for those who are flexibly furloughed you will also need:

  • the number of usual hours the employee would work during the claim period
  • the hours the employee has worked or will work during this period
  • you will also need to keep a record of the number of furloughed hours that the employee has or will be furloughed for.

You will need the above information ready before you access the system to make a claim. You will also need to have calculated the amounts claimed in advance as the application needs to be completed in one session. You can currently save one draft of the application and it must be completed within 7 days of starting it.

The Government has issued a step-by-step guide for employers who wish to make a claim under the scheme which can be found using the link below. It contains useful information about calculating the payments claimed. You will need to register for a Government Gateway ID and password if you do not yet have one in order to access the portal.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/880099/Coronavirus_Job_Retention_Scheme_step_by_step_guide_for_employers.pdf

If you use an agent who is authorised to act for you for PAYE purposes, they will be able to make a claim on your behalf. If you use a file only agent (who files your RTI return but doesn’t act for you on any other matters) they won’t be authorised to make a claim for you and you will need to make the claim yourself. A file only agent can assist you in obtaining the information required to make a claim (listed above). If an agent makes a claim on your behalf you will need to tell them which bank account you would like the grant to be paid into.

For claims for fewer than 100 employees you will need to input the details separately for each employee. If claiming for more than 100 employees you can upload a file with the information instead. The file should include the following information for each furloughed employee: name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, payroll/employee number (optional). You will also need to include details of hours normally worked, actual hours worked and hours furloughed for those who are flexibly furloughed.

The need to demonstrate the impact of coronavirus on your business is not one of the criteria listed above about who can make a claim, so the government does not appear to intend to set a specific test to determine if a business is “severely impacted by coronavirus”. You are not required to explain the impact of Coronavirus on your business when submitting your claim.

HMRC will retain the right to audit any claim retrospectively. You must keep records for 6 years including:

  • the amount claimed and claim period for each employee
  • the claim reference number
  • you calculations for each claim
  • details of hours usually worked and hours actually worked for flexibly furloughed employees.

You must tell your employees that you have made a claim under the scheme, and you must continue to pay their wages during this time.

What support is provided by the government under CBILS?

The Government will provide the lender with a partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding facility balance, subject to an overall cap per lender. Note, the Government guarantee is to the lender only, the borrower will always remain 100% liable for the debt.

We understand that will make an initial claim for recovery against the borrower and will, once its normal recovery procedures have been completed, claim against the Government guarantee.

What routes of challenge are available to an insurer's rejection of my business interruption claim?

Many policies will only provide business interruption cover if it arises from property damage. The FCA has acknowledged that insurers are entitled to reject claims in relation to such policies, notwithstanding the success of the FCA’s test case in the Supreme Court, and which was generally favourable to policyholders [Insert a link here to our update on the test case]. In other cases the policy wording will be less clear and businesses may legitimately feel that their insurer is wrongly withholding payment.

One route of challenge to an insurer’s decision is via one of the well-publicised class actions. Another route of challenge is by a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This service is open to consumers and small and medium-sized businesses, ‘micro-enterprises’, charities and trusts. The service will be an attractive option for many businesses, as it is free and relatively quick (although it remains to be seen how the service keeps up with an increase in demand as a result of the pandemic). You will need to have complained to your insurer before bringing a complaint with the FOS.

Further details can be found here.