Landlords’ association says difficulties sourcing engineers and worries among tenants about letting people into their homes mean safety certification, like MOTs for cars, should be waived until the crisis is over.
All gas and electrical safety certification for private rented homes should be automatically extended for six months, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) says.
The organisation says its poll of landlords found that 38% have been struggling to source maintenance contractors and that a third cannot complete safety and essential maintenance work because they or their tenants are self-isolating.
It also says many tenants are simply worried about letting tradespeople into their homes.
Also, the NRLA claims that there is a precedent for a safety certificate waiver following the Coronavirus pandemic; namely that the government recently did the same for vehicle MOTs.
This would give landlords the time to ensure that routine but legally binding checks can take place at a point when the danger of spreading the virus in rental properties is at least reduced, it is claimed.
As well as gas safety certificates, the NRLA is calling on the Government to delay until next year the introduction of new routine Electrical Installation Condition Reports which are due to come into force from 1st July.
“Whilst landlords should ensure that urgent work to ensure properties are safe for tenants is carried out, routine maintenance and checks need to be delayed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus,” says Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA.
“Extending the life of gas and electrical safety certificates will protect landlords and tenants from unnecessary contact and provide landlords with legal protection from enforcement action where they are simply unable to get such work undertaken through no fault of their own.”