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Gas safety checks – help for landlords whose tenants won’t let them in

GasAs you probably know, all landlords 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 it puts the landlord in a spot.  They are under an obligation to get this done – but they can’t go in anyway whether the tenants like it or not, as that will be in breach of their ‘covenant for quiet enjoyment’.

Neither does the tenants’ refusal give landlords the right to cut off the gas – as that is 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:

  1. Make your three letters really powerful so they will make your tenant think twice about refusing to let you in
  2. 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
  3. Apply to court for an injunction order.

The Gas Access Kit

In order to help landlords with 1 and 3, and also to give a procedure for them 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 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.

The Beta Version

Robert and I have done as much as we can on the kit for now.  However what we need is some users in there to give feedback so we can fine tune the site and find out if what else people want.

I also need to get a bit of funding in to cover the costs of some further development work I want to do, for example some design work and maybe putting in a forum (if people want this).

So I am opening the site up for just one week, to allow anyone interested to join the ‘beta version’ at a 50% discount off the final cost.

After that the join-up page will be taken down and we will monitor the site for a while and get the further work done, with a view to launching the site ‘properly’ in the late spring or summer.

So if this interests you >> click here now.

The page will be taken down at 10.30 pm on Tuesday 4 February.

About the author

Tessa Shepperson Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is also a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google

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2 Responses to Gas safety checks – help for landlords whose tenants won’t let them in

  1. Industry Observer says:

    Tessa suggestion 3 we have agreed previously whilst an option is very expensive – possibly £800 – and can also take at best 4 weeks to obtain.

    I would suggest a 4th documented attempt – serve a section 8 notice. It is one of the few occasions where I guarantee you will get an Order on a discretionary ground. The Judge will order immediate access be granted by the tenant – been there, got the T shirt!!

  2. The whole point of the Gas Access Kit however is that we tell you exactly how to get an injunction order thus avoiding the expense of using solicitors. All you will need to pay is the court fee.

    Also if you really know how to do it, you can talk about getting an injunction with more authority to the tenants which may of itself persuade them to allow you in.

    The Gas Access Kit does not include eviction guidance (people need to use my Landlord Law guide for that http://www.landlordlaw.co.uk/eviction) but I may consider adding a section 8 notice.

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The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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