What does the Corona virus pandemic mean for Magna-IM?
At Magna-IM, we are taking in all of the rapidly changing news about COVID-19, and operating in our new and temporary virtual reality. Together, we are all learning to do things differently – function as flexible teams, and support our customers in new and innovative ways and at a pace we never thought possible. We are defined by these moments, and we are so proud of how our team are responding for each other and our customers.
Following the Government’s advice work carried out in people’s homes can continue, provided that the engineer is well and has no symptoms. We follow Public Health England’s guidelines, maintaining a two-metre distance from any household occupants, washing hands frequently, and wiping down all surfaces for everyone’s safety. We are not however carrying out works or maintenance in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household. No work will be carried out by an engineer who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
We remain contactable to our clients on 01926 419922 and will support them in delivering services as much as is safely possible during this difficult period.
What does the Corona virus pandemic mean for Stonewater Clients?
Stonewater has made the decision to postpone all repair and maintenance work other than those that are deemed to be ‘essential emergency safety repairs’.
For clarity, this means that any existing or new non-essential repairs will, with immediate effect, be postponed until further notice. The objective is to ensure that customers’ homes are safe and a list of the essential emergency safety repairs is provided below:
- Regulatory compliance safety checks, such as gas and electrical inspections
- Carbon monoxide alarm activation
- Fire alarm activation in schemes
- Complete failure of heating or hot water to property occupied by elderly or vulnerable customers
- Failure of a warden alarm or call system
- Lighting to communal stairways and corridors if dangerous
- Lift breakdowns
- Investigating and remedying total loss of power
- Total failure of the electricity supply
Customers contacting Stonewater to report repairs will be advised of the reduced service and requested to provide information in respect of their own and household’s health and, such information will be passed onto you to facilitate the safe provision of service.
The latest information from Stonewater can be found here.
What does the Corona virus pandemic mean for Landlords?
Landlords’ repair obligations have not changed. Where reasonable, safe, and in line with other Government guidance, it is recommend that you landlords or contractors access to properties to inspect or remedy urgent health and safety issues. Such issues could include broken boilers leading to loss of heating or hot water, plumbing issues removing access to washing or toilet facilities, or equipment a disabled person relies on requires installation or repair. Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants to maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, electrical and to keep a record of each safety check. During the Coronavirus outbreak, there is a balance between ensuring people, including the vulnerable, are protected from potentially fatal risks arising from carbon monoxide exposure or gas explosion, while doing what we can to protect people from the virus.
The law is flexible and where it is not possible to carry out a gas or electrical safety check, it will normally be enough to show that you took reasonable steps to do so. In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, for example refusal of access due to tenants self-isolating, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. This should include records of communication with the tenant and details of your engineers attempts to gain access. You should seek to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are available.
Landlords are encouraged to arrange for the checks to be undertaken in advance of the due date if they foresee issues around the time of the deadline. There is flexibility to carry out annual gas safety checks two months before the deadline date. Landlords can have the annual gas safety checks at their properties carried out any time from 10 to 12 calendar months after the previous check and still retain the original deadline date as if the check had been carried out exactly 12 months after the previous check. By arranging the annual gas safety checks as early as possible as a contingency against tenants being in self-isolation for a period of 14 days, or gas engineers being unavailable due to illness. The two-month period to carry out annual gas safety checks should provide adequate resilience in most situations.
Landlords should not suspend all gas safety checks at this time as it will unnecessarily put tenants at increased risk, particularly as people are spending most, and in some cases all, of their time at home. Each property should be considered on a case-by-case basis, completing safety checks where tenants permit access and gas engineers are available.
Information from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government can be found here.