Gas Safety Law
As you probably know, as a landlord, you are obliged by law to carry out a gas safety check (using an installer registered with the Gas Safe Register) every year and give a certificate to the tenants
Its a criminal offence not to.
But what if your tenants won’t let you in? It sounds ridiculous – but many don’t.
- They may dislike the landlord and not want him coming into their home
- They may be suspicious and think that there is some ulterior motive
- They may be carrying on criminal activities at the properties (for example they may have converted it to a cannabis farm) and don’t want anyone coming in, or
- They may be ‘bloody minded’ or just plain stupid.
However this puts you in a spot. You are under a legal obligation to get the inspection done – but you can’t just go in anyway regardless of whether the tenants like it or not – that is a breach of their ‘covenant for quiet enjoyment’.
Neither does the tenants’ refusal give you the right to cut off the gas – that’s illegal too.
The Heath & Safety Executive who enforce these regulations will expect you to have at least three ‘documented attempts’ to gain access to get the safety check done.
But if the tenants still don’t let you in, you shouldn’t just sit back – you may be safe from prosecution (for now) but you still need to keep trying.
What you can do?
Here are some suggestions:
- Make your three letters really powerful so they will make your tenant think twice about refusing to let you in
- Get someone ‘official’ – for example someone from the Council – to talk to your tenants and explain that it really is necessary, its not just the landlord being nosey
- Consider evicting under section 21 (if you can), or if this is not possible
- Apply to court for an injunction order.
The Gas Access Kit
In order to help you with 1 and 4, and also to give you a procedure to follow, I have teamed up with Barrister Robert Brown of Arden Chambers to create a Gas Access Kit.
This also has background information on the law, links to helpful websites, eviction notices and other forms and anything else we can think of to help you and make it easier for you to comply with the law.
The procedures for getting the injunction are set out very clearly with screen shots of all the forms, all the wording you need (some of which you will have to adapt to suit the circumstances of your case) and guidance on what to do at court.
Hopefully you will never need to use it, but knowing that you can, will help you with your dealings with your tenant.
We also give guidance on getting an order for possession based on the tenants refusal to let you in – but don’t recommend this as there is a lot more that can go wrong (for more on this, listen to the podcast here).
Who is the Gas Access Kit for?
The kit has been written mainly for:
- Private Landlords, whether these are one property / accidental landlords or
- Large portfolio landlords, in particular
- Landlords with sitting protected tenants (i.e. who cannot be evicted easily under section 21)
- Social housing landlords, e.g. housing associations
- Property Managers, and
- Letting agents
However it will also be very useful for:
- Housing advisors (eg local authority staff, CABx etc), and
Even if you have no intention of using the court injunction procedure, understanding how it all works and knowing that you COULD do this if necessary, will give you confidence when dealing with your recalcitrant tenants.
For more information and to buy the kit now >> click here.
Or why not sign up for our FREE 4 part information series >> here?