Question

Gas Safety (England) | Landlord Wants Tenant to Leave (England)

Informing HSE and Unable to Gain Entry for Gas Safety Record

26 Nov 2017 | 2 comments

Recently I foolishly agreed to take over managing a property for an overwhelmed relative (silly me) and there are major paperwork issues meaning a valid and enforceable section 21 notice is going to be almost impossible to issue, and the tenants have recently brought their rent arrears down from 3 months to just 1 month.
Having made several requests for access both for gas safety (very overdue) and general routine inspection, all of which have been ignored, we have used all the letter templates regarding access and I would now like some advice on how I go about reporting the matter to HSE, since hopefully that was not just an idle threat!
The locks have been changed as well, so although there was no explicit refusal to allow access (they just ignored all the letters and e-mails), we were unable to gain entry when we did attend. We are also unsure that it would be safe to enter anyway, as there is a chance that the property is being used for something other than what it should be used for.

Answer

2 Comments

  1. guildy

    We don’t think there is any need for you to make any reports to the HSE.

    You appear to have been doing all you can and as long as you keep acting one way or another, that will provide a defence should the HSE ever make contact about the lack of a gas record. Make sure to keep all paperwork and a good diary of events.

    Just remember the gas record is only required for a section 21 in relation to a tenancy or renewal from 1 October 2015. If the tenancy was before that date, you don’t need to worry.

    In respect of possession, there are two options.

    Assuming the tenancy is on or after 1 October 2015, you could still serve a section 21 notice and when questioned about the gas safety explain the reasons for not having one. It’s never been tested to our knowledge but it might be that the court says the tenant must allow access if they wish to rely on that provision – i.e. they can’t claim the notice is invalid by refusing you entry to get one done. As we say, we don’t know if that would work but there is a similar restriction on section 21’s where a deposit was not protected. The way to fix it is by repaying the deposit in full. In a case where a tenant refused to bank the cheque for the returned deposit, it was held that:

    The High Court refused permission to appeal and stated that the statutory provisions were there to protect tenants and could not be used as a blunt instrument to defeat landlords’ interests.

    It might be the same principle for not allowing access to carry out a gas safety record but we don’t know.

    Alternatively, but more complex, there is a ground for possession after a section 8 notice where the tenant has been:

    guilty of conduct causing or likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to the landlord of the dwelling-house, or a person employed (whether or not by the landlord) in connection with the exercise of the landlord’s housing management functions …

    We’ve never seen this actually been used but it’s there and appears to be designed specifically for this kind of situation. Please see this article for full details.

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