Gas safety – landlords obligations
Getting an annual gas safety check is one of the jobs you must do if you are a landlord.
You are required to arrange for a qualified gas installer, registered with the Gas Safe Register to carry out an inspection, and then provide a certificate. A copy of which you then need to give to your tenant.
But what do you do if the tenant won’t agree to the gas safety inspection?
This is a discussion which we had last week on the 4walls property forum (this is a link to the start of the relevant thread).
My advice, which originally came from an official at my local Health and Safety Executive, is that you have to give it three tries. So:
1. Send a letter making the appointment. If the tenant does not let the inspector in then,
2. Write a letter explaining why it is necessary. If they still don’t respond then
3. Write another letter asking them to contact you urgently, and emphasizing that the inspection is for their safety.
If, the HSE Officer told me, you can prove that you have made every effort (and at least 3 attempts) you are unlikely to be prosecuted for breach of the gas safety regulations. Although he added, it might be an idea for you to let the HSE know what had happened. (Note that this advice is also on the HSE web-site.)
Dissension on the 4walls forum
However when I put this view forward on the forum, some were unhappy about it. One landord (whose tenants last year had refused to allow the inspection, and who had then discovered a gas leak after the tenants had left) said:
I decided, after my horrors last year, that i would MUCH rather be before a judge explaining why I had “forcibly entered and allegedly harrassed” a tenant to do a LGSC – than be before a judge explaining why my tenant was dead because i had not forced the issues of access for a LGSC…..
Subsequently referring to a case she had been told of where
a LL argued that his tenant had refused him entry to do the LGSC and that the LL therefore had no legal responsibility for his tenants death – the judge had none of it and said he should have tried harder… and i can’t recall his punishment… but it was very very severe.,,,,,
I have asked if this case is reported anywhere but I suspect it is not.
Another solution suggested on the forum, in a situation where the tenant had changed the locks and refused to answer all attempts at contact, was to turn the gas off at the mains outside. This was apparently on the advice of both CORGI and the agent.
But what do other landlord readers think about this? Do you follow the three step procedure and then consider you have done all you are legally required to do? Or do you consider that it is better to ensure that the property is safe by going in anyway to do the inspection, or cutting off the gas supply? What do lawyer readers think of this?
Note – since this post was published I have now completed a ‘Gas Access Kit’ complete with DIY injunction guidance which you can read about here.
There is also a free information series here.