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.
It has also been proposed in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill that public companies who were due to file their accounts in the period from 26 March 2020 to 30 September 2020 will have until the earlier of the 30 September 2020 and the date which is 12 months after the end of their relevant accounting period to do this.
This is separate from the pre-existing scheme, announced on 25 March 2020, whereby companies can apply to Companies House for a 3 month extension for filing their accounts.
Employers and employees can decide the split of the hours of work and the hours of furlough. There is no maximum or minimum requirements. You can change the arrangement, by agreement, from time to time.
When claiming for employees who are flexibly furloughed, you should not claim until you are sure of the exact hours they will work during the claim period.
The Government guidance does not require any business to close except some non-essential shops and public venues, so in theory, all businesses can continue to occupy and operate from their existing premises. However, government guidance strongly encourages businesses to arrange for everybody able to work from home to do so. The majority of office sector business will fall into this category.
In the industrial sector, the majority of businesses will not be able to operate via home working and will, therefore, need to retain employees on site though in some cases this may be able to be scaled back.
Any tenants continuing to operate from their premises should consider whether or not they need to make any alterations to the premises to facilitate social distancing of employees and whether or not such works would require a consent from the Landlord under the terms of the lease.
- Delays in preparing and submitting applications to comply with pre-commencement conditions. In this respect there can be lengthy timescales gathering evidence to support applications to comply with pre-commencement conditions, ecology, contamination and archaeology are examples of matters which can require significant periods of survey work
- Following on from the above the ability to get required experts on the site necessary to undertake the required survey work
- Delays in the determination of applications to comply with pre-commencement conditions. In this respect whilst there are deemed discharge provisions/procedures concerning certain matters, the provisions cannot be used to discharge all types of conditions
- The ability to get people on site to undertake material operations
In the circumstances, it is advisable to start considering the implementation of the planning permission early and the earlier the better. Under current legislation whilst it is possible to vary conditions, albeit potentially leading to wider issues, it is not possible to extend the life of a planning permission meaning that lawful implementation is essential to avoid the loss of that permission.
If a planning permission is lost, amongst other things it may not be granted again or may not be granted on similar terms. In the circumstances, it is advisable to seek advice given the specific facts of the case to minimise the risk of a planning permission not being lawfully implemented and expiring.
Yes, but the Courts have been temporarily restructured into three categories:
- Open courts (open for business including vital in person hearings)
- Staffed courts (for video and telephone hearings)
- Suspended courts (no hearings of any kind)
These changes have been effective from Monday 30 March 2020.