Q. I am a very responsible Landlord and am keen to ensure I carry out all my responsibilities especially any legal requirements. However the gas safety certificate is about to expire on my property but my tenant is refusing to allow my contractor access to carry this out. What can I do about this; surely they have to let them have access given the seriousness of this?
A. Landlords have specific legal responsibilities to their tenants when it comes to gas safety. As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. The rental contract you draw up with the tenant should allow you access for any maintenance or safety check work to be carried out. You have to take ‘all reasonable steps’ to ensure this work is carried out, and this may involve giving written notice to a tenant requesting access, and explaining the reason. You must not use force to enter the property. A landlord has to show that they took all reasonable steps to comply with the law. HSE (Health and Safety Executive) recommends the following actions and strongly advises that a record be kept of all correspondence with the tenants:
1. Leave the tenant a notice stating that an attempt was made to complete the gas safety check and provide your contact details
2. Write to the tenant explaining that a safety check is a legal requirement and that it is for the tenant’s own safety. Give the tenant the opportunity to arrange their own appointment
HSE inspectors will look for repeated attempts to complete the gas safety check, including the above suggestions; however the approach will need to be appropriate to each circumstance. It would ultimately be for a court to decide if the action taken was reasonable depending upon the individual circumstances. If you let a property equipped with gas appliances you have three main responsibilities including the Gas Safety Check:
Maintenance: pipework, appliances and flues must be maintained in a safe condition. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available it is recommended that they are serviced annually unless advised otherwise by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Gas safety checks: a 12 monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue. A gas safety check will make sure gas fittings and appliances are safe to use.
Record: a record of the annual gas safety check must be provided to your tenant within 28 days of the check being completed or to new tenants before they move in. Landlords must keep copies of the gas safety record for two years.
All installation, maintenance and safety checks need to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.