The need for gas safety records when renting out a property is widely known but what is less commonly understood is that it is crucial to provide your tenant with the gas safety record either before or at the very start of the tenancy. Failure to do so, even if there is a valid record, can invalidate a section 21 notice.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 make it a legal requirement to have all gas appliances (which have been provided by the landlord) inspected once a year. If a landlord fails to comply he or she may be prosecuted and may be subject to a fine.
In a landmark court case in June 2017, a tenant maintained that their landlord was not entitled to serve a section 21 notice on him because he had not been supplied with a gas safety record at the very start of his tenancy. As this case gives testament to, supplying a gas safety record at a later date will simply not do. This is because the letter of the legislation is quite clear – the gas safety record must be provided by the start date of the tenancy. It is also noteworthy that the legislation does not indicate that the landlord is “off the hook” if he supplies the next gas safety record on time.
If the gas safety check is due before a tenant is the “lawful tenant” then a copy of the gas safety record needs to be given to the tenant “before that tenant occupies those premises”. If the gas safety check is due after the tenant moves in, it must be done on or before the due date. There then follows a grace period of 28 days from the inspection to provide a copy of the record to the tenant. The word of warning to landlords is that if you have not provided the gas safety record at the start of the tenancy, any subsequent section 21 notice could never be valid. This is because this scenario would render it impossible to comply with the prescribed legal requirements of the Deregulation Act. (This Act amended section 21 notices for tenancies commencing after October 2015 and the change will also apply to all assured shorthold tenancies as from October 2018.)
The best advice is that, if you are planning on letting your property, it is crucial to commission a letting agent who is proactive, diligent and completely abreast of the latest legislation. To avoid any problems further down the line, ensure your agent knows which documents to provide at the start of any new tenancy. A great idea is to have a “move-in” checklist which your agent can get your tenant to initial to confirm which documents they have received. Failure to follow due procedure can result in you being unable to serve a section 21.
About the author
Danielle comes from a marketing and media background, with over 20 years experience in her field which includes tenures at a number of distinguished Cheshire-based magazines and marketing agencies. Danielle has responsibility for marketing at Rickit…
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