I think the most important thing about the LRA is exactly that it is to clarify a Risk Assessment and not a safety certificate. The question I have been asked over the past 3 years is “which properties require a risk assessment”? The easy answer is all properties in the rental sector, it does not make a difference if there is a header tank, combi boiler or conventionally system; if there is a tap in the property with running water, a risk assessment needs to be carried out.
The assessor is looking for dead legs, advising the tenant if they go on holiday to make sure they run the shower upon return to minimise the risk of legionnella. Unless the property is a high-risk property, which are far and few between especially in the South of England, the assessment needs to be carried out every 2 years.
I don’t personally believe that the government, by changing the regulation, intended the rental sector to be included in this, it came into force when the legislation was changed. It has always been required for many years for hotels, hospitals, etc. Part of the legislation was for all properties with water storage over 200 litres. That part has now been removed, which meant it incorporated the whole of the rental sector, even if the property has a combi boiler and no storage facility.
The other concerning thing for landlords is just like the information provided on the EPC, the same scenario applies ‘of gaining of the property’, where the landlord is still required to prove that the tenant has received a copy of the LRA. If the landlord is unable to prove that the tenant has received a copy, then a judge has the right to refuse the application to gain possession of the property. So, we go through the same process as we do with the gas certificate and EPC. When we receive the LRA, we get the tenant to either sign when moving in or if they are already in occupation, we email them a copy and print the email as proof that the tenant has received it.
If it is not served properly to the tenant, you could well be in exactly the same position as we reported last month, where the landlord could be refused possession of their property and be in a position where the tenant is aware of this and refuses access to carry one out. I am sure the government put these rules in place without thinking of the implications of this.
Next month’s news letter will be on inventories.