Fobbed off by my local authority?

Fobbed off by my local authority?

14:41 PM, 3rd June 2021, About 3 years ago 49

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Hi all, Does anyone know the textbook answer on dealing with the following?

Despite numerous ignored phone calls and letters from myself and my gas engineer, we are unable to gain access to carry out this year’s gas safety certificate.

The certificate is now well overdue and I have been fobbed off by my local authority after asking them for advice on how to handle this. I can confirm the tenants are still occupying the house.

Many thanks

Trapped Landlord

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11:35 AM, 4th June 2021, About 3 years ago

It seems like you have a very stupid, stubborn, irresponsible, tenant, who refuses you access to send a gas safe engineer to service a gas appliance, thanks to stupid ill thought legislation, which could potentially cause a gas appliance to fail because it could not be serviced in time and God forbids, it may leak gas and cause an explosion, killing innocent neighbour, I could not care less if he died in that explosion, but to put his neighbours and others at a huge risk you should evict this idiot as soon as practical, get rid of him, you don't need bad non-cooperating tenant who could jeopardise your investment should something happen your insurance is unlikely to pay out because you failed to carry out a gas safety check, never mind the idiot tenant refusing you access, they would blame you for not taking action to evict him or to seek a court order to send in the gas safe engineer. I think there should be a register for naming such tenants so other landlords can avoid renting their properties to such irresponsible tenants.

Dylan Morris

11:39 AM, 4th June 2021, About 3 years ago

Tenants are endangering their own lives and must be removed a.s.a.p. This is a very serious issue. My advice would be to issue a Section 21 which is a remedy now open to landlords again. Requires 4 months notice as from 1st June and will be back to 2 months notice from 1st October. (Assuming your AST is periodic or has less than 4 months to run. You can always give more notice of course ie. 6 months). There’s an accelerated procedure for anti social behaviour not sure if this would fall into this category or similar. Ring the NRLA if you are a member and speak to their Legal advice line.

John Mac

12:02 PM, 4th June 2021, About 3 years ago

Not sure why you are calling the Local Council out? They have no Authority to force your Tenant to give you Access.

You must keep a record of all of your attempts to arrange the inspection & the Tenants refusals, so should the worst happen you have proof that you did your best to gain access to carry out your Statutory responsibility.

As above you need to take steps to evict your Tenant. Issue a Section 21 Notice ASAP. If you are unsure how to do this, join the NRLA & use their Telephone advice line.

Dylan Morris

12:10 PM, 4th June 2021, About 3 years ago

Inform your tenants you need to conduct an inspection of the property. (You should really be doing this every 6 months as good practice and to satisfy Right To Rent requirements). Are they operating a cannabis farm in there ?


12:27 PM, 4th June 2021, About 3 years ago

I'm a private landlord who also worked in social housing for many years. The law on gas safety checks is lopsided in terms of responsibility for ensuring that they are carried out and up to a point, I can understand why. However, obstructive tenants often get off lightly even when it's clear what they are up to and can leave landlord's quids out. Here's what you can do to mitigate your legal, though not necessarily your financial, liability...
You need to be able to *demonstrate* that you have taken all reasonable steps to have the safety check done (if you can't prove it, you haven't done it). Your view of what is reasonable may differ from that of the courts.
As a minimum, keep records of your communication with the tenants about this, including emails, letters, phone calls, social media, etc. If you send letters, ensure that you have proof of postage. Avoid recorded delivery as they will refuse to sign for these if they are gaming the system.
If they are playing games, get your gas fitter to cold call them at, say evenings and/or weekends. If you catch them and they refuse, record it, including any stated reasons for such refusal. Ask them to give a (reasonable) appointment - if they do, ensure that *you* keep it and record the outcome. If they refuse to give an appointment/won't speak with you, also note it. Write to them to confirm the above and make an appointment for the check and ask them to give you an alternative date if not OK. Whether they do or not, send your guy/gal for the check and record the refusal. You may need to do this more than once. With all such appointments, give reasonable notice in case they were 'in hospital', 'on holiday', etc.
I believe the above to be reasonable, though it probably won't save you if they end up killing themselves (picture the headlines). Depending on your risk appetite, you may want to get an injunction forcing them to allow you to do the check. This, of course, is more money on your part as you'll need to fork out for the court costs, the bailiffs and the locksmiths to enforce it.
Summarily, what is reasonable often depends on the availability of resources available to the landlord. When the court looks at your circumstances, what would they consider reasonable action on your part?

Simon M

12:41 PM, 4th June 2021, About 3 years ago

As others have pointed out this isn't negotiable.

1. You haven't explained if they're just avoiding you or have given a reason. (If they're genuinely vulnerable, fear of the virus was reasonable when it first arrived but increasingly indefensible and their life choice.) Whatever, in your attempts to gain access I hope there's some evidence you've tried to find why and address any reasonable concern. This is going a bit far because you have a legal obligation but if it goes to court this will be in your favour.

2. You should already have a documented record of every attempt to contact them and their refusals. This means registered letters, retain emails and if you communicate by text message take screenshots & save. All will be needed as evidence.

3. Issue a Section 21 to give notice - make it clear that you have to do this because they are continuing to prevent you from complying with your legal obligation, and so failing to keep to the terms of their tenancy agreement.

If they're being this difficult over a gas safety cert, it's likely you'll need to engage a solicitor or specialist in possession.

Chris @ Possession Friend

12:45 PM, 4th June 2021, About 3 years ago

@Trapped Landlord, we deal with this regularly.. Contact us

Glyn Moore

12:52 PM, 4th June 2021, About 3 years ago

I am in a similar situation, which has arisen during the notice period of Section 21. Advice from my solicitors is to ensure all reasonable efforts are made and exhausted, and keep meticulous records of the process.

The risk otherwise is two fold:
- a fine for non-compliance by the local authority (high risk in some areas)
- Section 21 deemed invalid due to (perceived) landlord non-compliance.

Be careful. As we all know the dice are loaded against landlords


13:07 PM, 4th June 2021, About 3 years ago

And if you threaten a tenant with an eviction for failing to cooperate to conduct essential maintenance and gas safety checks, it is called harassment, and giving him a notice can be taken as a Retaliation, what stupid law we landlords have to face these days designed to protect idiots..

Tim Rogers

13:42 PM, 4th June 2021, About 3 years ago

Just a thought, where would the law stand if you requested the gas provider cut off the supply due to danger to the local community because of non ability to have safety check?

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