Protect landlords rights of repossession – Gas Safety Certificate

by Property 118

9:39 AM, 19th March 2019
About 5 months ago

Protect landlords rights of repossession – Gas Safety Certificate

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Protect landlords rights of repossession – Gas Safety Certificate

Following a recent court case in which a landlord’s attempt to regain their property was deemed invalid due to a dispute over a gas safety certificate the RLA is campaigning to protect the rights of landlords to repossess their properties.

After initially being granted an order to repossess the property using Section 21 powers, the tenant successfully appealed on the grounds that they were not provided with a gas safety certificate prior to moving in.

Despite the landlord making this available once the tenancy had begun, the Court ruled that their Section 21 powers were invalid, referring to a previous similar case in which the certificate was made available less than two weeks after the tenant moved in.

The judge in the appeal said that if the gas safety certificate was not served on the tenant before they took up occupation then a Section 21 notice could not be relied on to regain possession, and the situation could not be resolved by serving one after the moving in date.

The RLA is supporting the landlord, Trecarrell House Limited, at the Court of Appeal, on the basis that so long as the gas safety certificate is provided before the Section 21 notice is served, then it is valid. It argues that the case could breach a landlord’s rights under European Convention on Human Rights on the basis that it deprives them of their possessions.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said: “Protecting the rights of landlords to repossess properties in legitimate circumstances is key to providing the confidence the sector needs to offer longer tenancies.

“The landlord in this case was not seeking to shirk their responsibilities and provided the certificates that were needed.

“We will fight to ensure that if nothing else, logic prevails.”



Comments

Mike

13:34 PM, 1st April 2019
About 5 months ago

Hamish I think you have the right to enter your property with your keys as long as you are accompanied by an engineer, and you have written to the tenant retaining proof of posting or service of that notice that you and your gas safe engineer will be attending the property in view of conducting an important gas safety check, and that he cannot lawfully obstruct you , so either he can be present at the property on such and such a day at such and such a time window, if he does not answer his door, you will use your own keys to get in and video the safety check being conducted.

You may also invite him to write to you if this date and time is not convenient, then he must let you know not less than 24hrs from the date you intend to carry this out, if he cancels your appointment, make sure he does so in writing and you give him at least 1 week notice in your letter.

I did that with one rouge tenant and she could not stop me, I challenged her to take me to court, and it will have to be completely dumb of Judge who would consider her right to quiet enjoyment and privacy above the gas safety law.
However, I am not sure if this was the right approach, but i did it and will do it again if need be, because I consider gas safety above all other regulations. It must be that is why you cannot use Section 21 if you had not first given any tenant a gas safety certificate.

Luke P

14:04 PM, 1st April 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 01/04/2019 - 13:34
Permission to enter can be revoked at any time by the occupier.

It may not endear them to the LL and likely lead to further action, but you must not stay.

Mike

15:44 PM, 1st April 2019
About 5 months ago

Thanks Luke P, If he raises no objection, by either telephoning the LL, or by writing to the LL to postpone that visit, state clearly if he does refuse entry then he will be liable for the engineers wasted trip, as well as the next step will be him being taken to court where you will be able to prove that you were denied access for important gas safety checks, and that you will then claim all legal costs as well as court costs and the engineers wasted trip. That should sort them out, my tenant also refused me entry about an hour before my engineer was due to meet me there, I told her if she refuses me entry then she will be liable for the engineers wasted trip and that is £100.00 as well as I shall then start eviction proceedings for her not being very cooperative in such safety matters, of course she had a good reason to deny me entry because she was growing weeds in her bedroom built in cupboard and had made an ugly hole in the ceiling for venting etc, bitch of a tenant she and her partner were.

Hamish McBloggs

23:09 PM, 1st April 2019
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 01/04/2019 - 15:44
Luke P, Mike,

I hear all that. But it's never that simple is it?

You can write letters, you can text, email and phone, facebook, twitter, linkedin,,,, You can promise that costs of cancellation & rearranging will be passed on (with no hope of actually getting them). You can tell them that you have a duty to check the gas appliances else you will be in trouble yourself ... more likely to raise a smile than spur them into action.

But if they belligerently refuse acknowledge your existence or enter into any dialogue and thus, implicitly, do not grant you access you may as well whistle up the chimney.

Communication is a 2-way thing and one has to ensure that all attempts at communicating are recorded in a manner that is not deniable.

Who do we ask for help? Who won't the tenant ignore? Gas safety checks require something a tad more responsive than a court order.

So, after attempting every communication method other than carrier pigeon one is left with knocking and knocking and knocking and if latches are on doors when the tenant is in there is no hope of entry whether 'permitted' and accompanied by a gas engineer or not.

Then if the door is answered by a female almost in a towel who refuses to make herself decent then what does one do?

Hang around with the gas man until they go out?

A safety check that was arranged in plenty of time before the current certificate expires ... now late, certificate expired ... who is in the wrong if, goodness forbid, there is problem with a gas appliance and someone dies whilst one is attempting to get in to do the safety check and servicing?

If a break in what should otherwise be continuous safety certification is uncovered how much effort will it be to defend oneself?

It's a criminal offence for a landlord to fail in his duty of care.

It should be a criminal offence to obstruct a landlord in this duty.

The stand up row was on a fully clothed day. However truculent, I got 'permission' & access before the certificate expired. But the earlier attempt was an eyeful and mortifying and thankfully she's gone and taken her almost towel with her to become a pain in the rear somewhere else (I wasn't asked for a reference).

Hamish.

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