The importance of gas safety inspections every 12 months
In Kaur v Griffith (unreported) the County Court considered whether a possession order obtained via a section 21 notice was still valid despite the gas safety inspection taking place after the required 12 month period.
Ms Griffith was granted a six month fixed term assured shorthold tenancy on 6 December 2016, which became a statutory periodic tenancy on 5 June 2017. Ms Kaur, the landlord of the property, later served a section 21 notice on Ms Griffith and successfully obtained possession of the property.
Ms Griffith sought to set aside the order for possession, arguing that she had not been provided with the gas safety certificates for the property. Ms Kaur maintained that a first gas safety certificate was handed to Ms Griffith when she signed the tenancy on 6 December 2016, and Ms Kaur stated she had handed a further gas safety certificate to Ms Griffith at a later inspection on 21 January 2018. Ms Griffith denied receiving either of these certificates.
At the hearing, Counsel for Ms Griffith argued, amongst other things, that the gas safety inspections were carried out over 12 months apart and Ms Kaur was in breach of 36 (3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 and Regulation 2 (1)(b) of The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015, therefore rendering the section 21 notice invalid.
At the hearing, the judge accepted that the second gas safety inspection should have been carried out by 6 December 2017, but found the inspection was not until 21 January 2018. This meant that Ms Kaur’s inspection was over a month late which invalidated the section 21 notice served. The possession order was set aside by the Judge.
Although this is a County Court case and is therefore not binding, the case serves as a useful reminder to landlords of the importance of ensuring that gas safety checks are carried out within 12 months of the last inspection.
Failing to adhere to this requirement will affect the validity of a section 21 notice. Regulation 36 (6) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 states tenants must be given a record of the inspection of such gas appliances, within 28 days of the inspection taking place. The regulations go on to state that appliances must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed and at intervals of not more than 12 months since they was last checked for safety.