How to gain access for a landlord gas inspection

All landlords renting properties with gas appliances have a duty to carry out a gas safety inspection (to be done by a Gas Safe Register registered installer) and serve a certificate confirming this to their tenants every year.

However, amazingly some tenants will refuse to allow access for landlord gas inspections.

 

What can you do if this happens to you?

Some landlords use their keys to gain access and do the inspection anyway, or cut off the gas.

However, attractive though these options may appear to be, they are strictly illegal and could make you vulnerable to prosecution or even a civil claim for damages by the tenant:

  • Landlords are not entitled to enter a rented property without their tenants’ permission – even if the tenancy agreement says that they can. Refusing to allow you access will put the tenants in breach of their tenancy agreement, but this does not give you the right to go in against their wishes. (This is confirmed by the recently published government code of practice)
  • Cutting off the gas will be classed as harassment, which is a criminal offence.

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What can you do if the tenant is refusing access for inspection?

The best thing is to explain to your tenants exactly why you are doing this, and try to get them to change their mind.

Many tenants, for example, will refuse permission because they dislike the landlord and suspect this to be some sort of ploy to gain access and spy on them.

You need to get them to understand that it is a government requirement, which is for their benefit.

Don’t discourage tenants, by the way, from being present during the inspection if they want to – this will calm fears of spying and will also protect you from unwarranted accusations of theft.

Three documented attempts

You should at the very least, make at least three documented landlord inspection notice attempts to gain access – for example:

1. Send a standard letter making an appointment (making it clear that you will bear the cost of the inspection and certificate) – then if they refuse to let you in:

2. Send them a second letter explaining that the inspection is a legal requirement and is for their benefit (as faulty gas appliances can be very dangerous)

and ask them to contact you to make another appointment – if they fail to respond or continue to refuse:

3. Send a third letter asking them to contact you urgently to arrange for the inspection to take place

Provided you have three documented landlord inspection notice attempts to gain access to get the gas inspection done, you should be reasonably safe from prosecution yourself.