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A recent case, heard at Hastings County Court in December 2023, has again highlighted a commonly forgotten and misunderstood piece of legislation regarding the Landlords Gas Safety Certificate, which could pose a threat to a landlord regaining possession of their property.
The case specifically addressed a scenario where a new boiler was installed just days after the tenancy had begun. The gas safe engineer conducted the necessary checks when commissioning a new boiler but did not issue a Landlords Gas Safety Certificate, instead they provided the landlord with a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate, a copy of which was never given to the tenants. When the landlord served Section 21 notice the tenants challenged its validity arguing that, as neither document had been provided, it was not valid.
The Deputy District Judge determined that the checks carried out by the engineer at the time of installation qualified as "relevant checks" under regulation 26(9) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and therefore, a record of these checks should have been created and promptly provided to the tenants as required by regulations 36(3) and 36(6)(c).
The Court's stance was that the requirement for a safety check within 12 months of installation did not exempt the agent or landlord from providing a record when checks were conducted earlier and, as a result, the section 21 was deemed invalid.
In addition to the issue when a new boiler is installed, we are all too often hearing of situations where the routine, annual Landlords Gas Safety Certificate is not being provided to the tenant, which could ultimately have the same result and cause the same issue.
With the Landlord Gas Safety Certificate being just one of many critical documents required to be provided to a tenant both at the start and during the tenancy it is imperative that you get it right. For further information, or to find out about how we can make sure you are fully compliant and able to regain possession if needed, contact your local Stags team.