Gas Safety Rulings all Landlords and Letting Agents Should Know
If a landlord wants to evict a tenant using a Section 21 notice, they must ensure they have complied with all the legal requirements before serving the notice. Otherwise, they could end up losing the case and paying the tenants’ legal costs, as one landlord recently found out.
The case of Van-Herpen v Green & Green
This case involved a dispute between a landlord, Mrs Van-Herpen, and her tenants, Mr and Mrs Green, over a newly installed boiler at the property. The landlord had served a Section 21 notice on July 14, 2022, but the tenants challenged the validity of the notice on the grounds that they had not been given the necessary paperwork relating to the boiler.
The landlord had installed a new boiler on September 6, 2018, one day after the tenants moved in. According to the gas safety engineer who installed the boiler, a new installation did not require a Gas Safety Certificate, but only a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate, which he said was equivalent to a Gas Safety Certificate. However, he admitted that he did not give a copy of this certificate to the tenants, nor did he give them a Gas Safety Certificate after he checked the boiler again on November 14, 2018, and October 30, 2019.
The tenants argued that the landlord had breached the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, which require landlords to provide tenants with a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days of any gas work being carried out, and to keep a record of the certificate for at least two years. They also argued that the landlord had breached the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015, which require landlords to provide tenants with a copy of the gas safety record before the start of the tenancy and to comply with the gas safety regulations before serving a Section 21 notice.
The Court’s decision
The Court agreed with the tenants and ruled that the Section 21 notice was invalid. The court found that the landlord had failed to provide the tenants with a copy of the Building Regulations Compliance Certificate, which was a gas safety record for the purposes of the gas safety regulations. The court also found that the landlord had failed to provide the tenants with a Gas Safety Certificate after the subsequent checks on the boiler, which were also gas safety records. The court rejected the landlord’s argument that the boiler did not need a Gas Safety Certificate because it was under a year old and said that the gas safety regulations applied to any gas appliance or installation, regardless of its age.
The court concluded that the landlord had not complied with the gas safety regulations, and therefore could not rely on the Section 21 notice to evict the tenants. The court also ordered the landlord to pay the tenant’s court costs, which amounted to £1,500.
The lessons for landlords ad letting agents
This case shows how important it is for those letting a property to follow the gas safety regulations and to provide tenants with the relevant paperwork before serving a Section 21 notice. It should not be assumed that a new boiler does not need a Gas Safety Certificate, or that a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate is sufficient. Landlords and their agents should also keep a record of all the gas safety records and the dates served on the tenant.
This content was exclusively prepared in collaboration with The Lettings Hub by award-winning Woodstock Legal Services.
Woodstock Legal Services are specialists in legal advice and solutions for the Private Rental Sector.
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