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Can I sue my landlord for no gas safety check?

by | Jan 22, 2023

Gas safety checks are important parts of making sure a property is up to date with all the right regulations so it is understandable if you’re concerned as a tenant that you do not have a gas safety check in place.

On top of this, the process of suing a landlord can be a lengthy process so in order to make sure that you’re doing it correctly and saving time you’d want to be equipped with all the right information.

Gas safety checks are an important part of tenant management just like anything else a landlord’s job is like dealing with intimidating neighbours.

So, read on to find out all you need to know about suing your landlord for no gas safety check.

A cooker with no gas safety check that a tenant has the right to sue for

What if your landlord does not have a gas safety check? 

If a landlord does not have a gas safety check, this is against the law. However, you still have to follow the correct procedure as a tenant to give a landlord a chance to prove they can issue a check before you can sue.

Because having a gas safety check is as a result of having a gas safety check and this has to happen every year in a property that is being leased under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).

This is among the many regulations that are in place for landlords in order to ensure the safety of tenants under the housing act of 1988.

It used to be the case that landlords could evict tenants for the sake of complaining about any maintenance issues in a property so they wouldn’t have to conduct repairs or maintain standards.

Now, tenants have far more rights and if a landlord doesn’t have a gas safety check a tenant can in fact sue the landlord. 

Is a gas safety check mandatory to not get sued?

A gas safety check that is delivered to a tenant within 30 days of request will be enough for a landlord to not get sued. This is because they are among some of the legal paperworks that must be provided to tenants upon request.

However, there are a lot of landlords that do not have up to date gas safety checks and do not get sued because tenants do not ask for the paperwork involved and nor do local authorities.

Nonetheless, local authorities are well within their rights to conduct random inspections if they believe a property isn’t meeting safety regulations and they often conduct these inspections after a tenant has flagged a property.

For instance, if there was a tenant who was unsure of the safety of their boiler, they asked the landlord for a gas safety check and the landlord wasn’t able to provide it, they could then take this information as evidence to their local authority.

The local authority would then visit the property to check and if the landlord if found guilty this could have legal consequences on top of any legal operation a tenant wants to conduct privately 

Are there any reasons for a landlord to not have a gas safety check?

There are reasons where a landlord isn’t liable to have a gas safety check installed and you should think carefully before you decide on taking a landlord to court or trying to sue them.

For example, if you’re a lodger and you are an excluded tenant in a property, you will not be able to sue a landlord for not having a gas safety check as easily.

While it would be nice for the landlord to keep the property in good condition, there is very little you can do in order to inspire any change for them if they refuse to show you a valid gas safety check.

This is because the landlord can very easily evict a lodger who complains about the place they are living in because they tend to have less tenant rights than the average tenant.

A tenant has the right to a safe home and while a lodger does still have the right to a habitable space in the same way with valid electronic safety checks, epc ratings and gas checks,

Bringing a landlord to court for this may work but it is also likely you’ll be evicted before you’re able to prosecute a landlord so in cases like this it is best to move on.

A court order to sue a landlord for no gas safety check

Another example where it is not appropriate to sue your landlord is if you haven’t given them at least thirty days to produce a check. Only then are they in a breach of a tenancy agreement.

Unfortunately, this means a landlord can then get a gas safety check done and then show the proof of the check immediately to you as a tenant and there is nothing you can do about it.

In cases like this it is clear a property has been housing a tenant without any gas safety check but if there was no harm done to the tenant in this time it can only be passed off as a mistake from the landlord.

With this knowledge however, you should record the date in which you request evidence of a gas safety check before you attempt to take a landlord to court as you’d need this to prove they are breaking the law.

What happens if you decide not to sue a landlord without a gas safety check?

Sometimes it is simply not worth it to go through the legal process of suing a landlord for poor gas safety standards in their home. So, what are the consequences of this and what else could go wrong?

However, sometimes delaying taking any legal action on a landlord can be due to actually not knowing if you can sue your landlord as a tenant and have it work in your favour.

Below are some consequences of not suing a landlord that is renting a property when you know they aren’t following regulations. 

Further unsafe issues may arise in a property

The chances are that if a landlord is neglecting a gas safety check to produce a gas safety check that must happen every year, they aren’t spying much attention to the legal requirements to run a rental property.

Even if you don’t think the landlord has ill intentions, it could be the case there are other safety issues in the property like you having to sue the landlord due to asbestos exposure in the future for example.

Even things like the basic structural maintenance of the house you’re living in as a tenant which is the responsibility of the landlord under section 11 should be adhered to. 

You could allow a negligent landlord to continue renting

An option for you as a tenant, especially if you don’t necessarily care too much about leaving and moving into a new place or perhaps you discover that there is no gas safety check near the end of your tenancy.

Is to simply not report the landlord and if you know you won’t be living where you are for much longer. However, by doing this you could be subjecting future tenants to the same problems.

These tenants could be unaware of the same risks that come with renting a property without a gas safety check and live somewhere for years with health hazards.

It is important to remember the extreme health consequences that come from neglecting gas safety. In the case of a gas leak it could lead to an explosion or suffocation which has fatal consequences.

What’s great is you can report a landlord to your local council completely anonymously here and not have to worry about the landlord discovering it is you.

In fact, you can still do this anonymously if you’re still living in a property and not have to worry about your landlord evicting you under a no fault eviction (section 21) under protection from the law.

This is because if a local authority investigates and finds the landlord actually doesn’t have a gsa safety check then they lose their rights to produce a section 21 for 6 months.

A landlord without a gas safety check

Your safety could be at risk

The final reason for reporting a landlord sooner rather than later is because while the gas in a property could appear okay even if they aren’t passing an annual test, there could be more sister problems with the has equipment.

There are good reasons for gas safety checks to have to be issued in the first place so this advice from the government should not be ignored if you can.

Gas explosions, leaks and bills that are disproportionate to the amount of gas you’re using are all problems you could run into if you don’t sue a landlord for no gas safety checks.

Some of which have financial implications but some of which could cost your life.

How to sue a landlord for no gas safety check

Suing a landlord for no gas safety check should come later down the line after there is solid evidence that there is no chance the landlord has a gas safety check.

The easiest way to come up with this evidence is to report the landlord to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which you can find the exact form to fill out to make this registration here.

This, accompanied with an inspection from a local council should be enough to find the evidence that a landlord has been non-compliant with their tenancy agreement and their right to provide you with a safe home.

At this stage, a tenant can use these bits of information to begin collecting evidence to bring the landlord to court alongside any doctors noted or evidence that they have been harmed from no gas safety check.

Without physical evidence that something has gone wrong, there is not much the court can do to sue a landlord because from the eyes of the law it looks like the local council and HSE are already doing something about it.

Nonetheless, if you have had an injury due to a gas leak, explosion or had to face anything unjust as a result of a landlord not producing a gas safety check in 30 days, these are all good signs there will be an outcome for your case.

What type of court should you go to if a landlord has no gas safety check?

Typically, a small claims court is ideal for gas safety check disputes with landlords because they aren’t seen as high level disputes where there is criminal activity.

However, in severe cases where there perhaps was a death or the loss or large amounts of money then a larger court house like a Magistrates’ court or a Crown court may be suitable.

The courthouse will let you and the landlord know after filling out an N215 whether there is the need to switch courts.

How much can you get if you sue your landlord for no gas safety check?

As like most court cases, the exact amount that a court will issue in compensation from the landlord so that a tenant can be compensated after they sue will depend on the case.

Where there is a lot of money that has been lost from the tenant perhaps because of injury and time they had to take out of work, the costs can be higher and the failure to provide a gas safety check could cost a landlord five figures.

However, for smaller cases, perhaps just a small amount of money is won. Either way, at least a landlord like this can be prosecuted and their ability to rent out property in the future with a history of court cases will be reduced.

A pot of money from suing a landlord for no gas safety check

To conclude

With all things considered, you definitely can sue a landlord for no gas safety check. However, the right circumstance must arise in order for you to do so as a tenant. 

On top of this, there is no guarantee on the amount of money you will receive as every case is different in the court of law and there is always a chance that a landlord will be able to produce a gas safety check in time to prevent court action.

Nonetheless, more often than not it is the right thing to do as a tenant because you could be preventing other consequences in the future like allowing your landlord to get away with not issuing a how to rent guide at the start of a tenancy.

Or perhaps they are also neglecting your other basic rights as a tenant like quiet enjoyment, not taking a property inventory or not giving the right notice to quit.

Demanding to see a gas safety check within 30 days can be a great way let your landlord know you know your rights as a tenant and you will not tolerate anything less than what is required in terms of safety. 

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donnell-bailey

Donnell Bailey

Property expert

Donnell is a property expert focusing on the property market, he looks at a combination of legislation, information from property managers, letting agents and market trends to produce information to help landlords.