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By Paul Shamplina

Founder, Landlord Action


Shamplina Speaks – Challenging Access on Gas Safety

This week (September 12-18) marks the twelfth annual Gas Safety Week.

All landlords renting properties with gas appliances have a legal duty to have a gas safety inspection carried out each year by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. Once checked, and as long as all appliances are in good working order, the landlord receives a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate which must be given to the tenants. Tenants should be provided with an up-to-date gas safety certificate prior to moving into a property. 

Rules around the serving of Gas Safety Certificates and their impact on landlords to be granted possession via Section 21 have come under much debate over the last few years following several high-profile cases. However, the Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield case finally ruled that the late serving of a gas safety certificate does not prevent a landlord from serving a Section 21 notice provided the certificate has been given to the tenant before the notice was served. 


However, there remains one fundamental issue which keeps cropping up – denial of access.  

At Landlord Action, we recently carried out a survey of more than 1100 landlords and found that at one point or another, 46 per cent of landlords said they had been denied access to their rental property to carry out routine checks or gas safety inspections. 

This puts landlords in a very difficult situation. It is a criminal offence not to comply with these requirements and could mean the property is not safe to live in. Yet, if the tenant will not allow them, or the engineer, to enter, what can they do?

Just to re-cap, these are landlord’s legal obligations around gas safety: 

- All gas appliances and flues in rental properties must have an annual safety check

- The annual safety checks (and any necessary maintenance) must be carried out by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer

- Any new tenants must be provided with the Gas Safety Record prior to moving in, or to existing tenants within 28 days of completing the check

- Landlords should keep a record of any/ all checks made each year

Landlords know that when a tenant moves into a rental property, they gain a fundamental right in English property law, known as ‘quiet enjoyment’. This gives tenants the legal right to live in a property without interference from the landlord, therefore they cannot just enter without the tenant’s agreement.  If they do, they could face prosecution for harassment. 

So, what should a landlord do if their tenant refuses access to carry out a gas safety inspection? 

1. Check tenancy agreement –This should state how much notice you have to give the tenant if you wish to enter the property – normally 24 hours.  If the tenant refuses access despite offering a valid reason for requesting entry, this can put them in breach of their tenancy agreement.

2. Communicate – You should clearly explain to the tenant the important reasons for needing access to the property, i.e. without inspection they risk fire, gas leaks and/or carbon monoxide poisoning. 

3. Be Flexible - Give tenants options, such as different times and dates to make sure it is convenient for them.  Also let them decide whether or not they remain or leave the property whilst the Gas Safe engineer visits. If the tenant still denies access, you should always keep a record of communication to prove you have made every effort to carry out your legal obligations around gas safety.

4. Contact Local Authority – Inform your local authority of the difficulty you are having in gaining access and seek their advice. It is important you can show you have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the law. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors will look for repeated attempts to complete the gas safety check so keep a written record.

5. Consider next steps – In your landlord inspection notice letter, make it clear that if any damage or personal injury is suffered due to any faulty gas appliance, you will not be liable

Landlords should never be tempted to enter a rental property without the tenant’s permission. This will only break trust and likely lead to a complete breakdown of communication between landlord and tenant, resulting in greater problems than may already exist.  Tenants may also accuse landlords of stealing which would be difficult to disprove if the landlord entered alone.

Today’s landlords, faced with increasingly complex legal challenges, are turning to Landlord Action for support with a wider range of legal services than ever before. 

As the market evolves and the balance of power shifts towards the tenant, we are also adapting to ensure we continue to support landlords’ needs. Whilst we continue to manage the rise in possessions, we are also looking to broaden our focus to encompass the legal issues landlords are likely to face in the future as the sector reforms. 

We are currently putting forward a case for introducing a discretionary ground for possession of unreasonably refusing landlords access for inspections. This would help give landlords the necessary authority when requesting access. We offer landlords access injunctions to complete gas safety checks. You can instruct Landlord Action HERE.

If you are being refused access to your property to carry out inspections, repairs or Gas Safety checks, and have exhausted all avenues, please contact Landlord Action for professional advice. 0333 321 9415. You can also find a complete guide to gas safety and landlord gas safety certificates HERE

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  • icon

    "We are currently putting forward a case for introducing a discretionary ground for possession of unreasonably refusing landlords access for inspections."

    Assuming the clauses are in the agreement why can't you just use ground 12?


    Hello Chris. How to contact you regarding possession on the ground of unreasonably refusing access for inspections?

    Ferey Lavassani

    Discretionary grounds will only help you if you also have a mandatory ground, such as ground 8 together with 10 and 11 . You will never get an eviction order, solely on discretionary grounds. Shamplina, fully knows that.

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    (3) What on earth is he on about be flexible give Tenants the option of different dates and times. We have a business to run and so have the gas Engineer with his own schedule of work and don’t we have no than enough to contend with as well does he think everyone is sitting around at home wait for their beck and call. You have to get it done when you can get the Gas Engineer to do it, that’s onerous enough begging them to come, anyway the Appliances are usually in common parts the inspection and Service is not affecting them and has to be done. Stop the interference making everything intolerable turning the whole business into a load of crap, did you just think of this we have been operating for decades.

  • icon

    Tenants may accuse landlords of stealing which may be difficult to disprove !!
    Silly me I THOUGHT it was up to the accuser to prove their allegation ,clearly this nicety of justice does not apply to landlords and their families
    Why stop there just accuse landlords of anything terrorism , murder ,eating babies alive we can dispense with a time wasting trial and move straight to sentencing
    These arrogant landlords think they are entitled to human rights, both sheiter and the government have made it clear that as far as they are concerned landlords and their children are not even human
    and definitely not entitled to any human rights

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    The simple answer, is that after a number of recorded communication with tenant requesting access, on the last, you make them aware that if they don't give a reasonable appointment within 7 days, you will apply for an Injunction without further notice, costs of which will be pursued from the tenant.

    I have done a number of these for landlords.

  • icon

    Professional friend my friend. No none of that they’ll be no recording or number of recordings or 7 days notice, you can’t run a business like that.
    That’s like dealing with an enemy which they are not they are our customers and friends, just renting for now like we used to do, save the Government wants to make them made permanent but they are renting not buying.
    When we have secured a date for a Gas Engineer to come we’ll notify the Tenants of that end of story, forget about times the Gas Engineer don’t know himself how involved his previous job is, or an Emergency job crop up or break downs in middle of winter which has to get priority. Stop all the interference and silly nonsense. There is no question of stealing anything or prying either we are proper LL’s not petty thieves.

  • icon

    Yes Mr Foley, very true. If the tenants are obstructing access it's the thin edge if the wedge, they want the property

  • icon

    Totally agree Michael. Pussyfooting around a tenant. Yes one DOES try to be accommodating and flexible but the engineer has to come and his I T tells you when that is. However, I usually now but keep eye on things let the tenant ring say BGas up and arrange. They live there so it fits with them directly.


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