Most landlords of residential properties are aware that they are responsible for ensuring that all gas appliances are maintained in a safe condition and most will also know that it is a requirement to have an annual gas safety check carried out on gas appliances which they provide (and all related gas flues) by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer.
Many landlords probably do not realise that the law now requires them to provide a copy of the last gas record to any new tenant of premises before the tenant occupies the premises.
A recent court decision in London has caused alarm bells to ring for even well organised landlords. The 1988 Housing Act provides for the recovery of possession of premises, by the giving of simple notice. No ground for possession need be established. It simply needs to be shown, to the satisfaction of the court, that a valid notice, pursuant to Section 21 of the Act, has been given
In the case before him the judge ruled that the Section 21 possession notice served by the landlord was invalid because the landlord had not provided the tenant with the gas safety record before the tenant had taken up occupation of the property.
This ruling has the potential to cause serious problems for landlords up and down the country if it is followed by other judges. A landlord who provides the gas record even a day after the tenant moves in would be prevented from serving a possession notice. If the landlord cannot serve a possession notice the tenant cannot be evicted unless other grounds for possession can be established.
Landlords must therefore ensure that they provide the gas safety record to the tenant before the tenant moves in to the property and that this is properly documented.