What letting agents and landlords need to know about gas certificates when serving a Section 21 notice

22 April 2024

Gas safety certificates are part of the parcel of letting a property. But did you know the implications of forgetting to check one?

Having an up-to-date gas certificate is a legal requirement that must be renewed every year. Without having an up-to-date gas safety certificate, landlords and letting agents can face a possible fine and will be unable to serve a Section 21 notice.

In 2022, a landlord attempted to serve their tenant a Section 21 notice. This was later disputed and taken to court as the landlord did not provide a gas safety certificate during the tenancy. When taken to court, the judge deemed the Section 21 notice was defective, and the proceedings were dismissed. The landlord then has to pay the tenant’s court costs.

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Here is everything letting agents and landlords should know:

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What is a gas safety certificate?

As part of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, landlords must “ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for tenants’ use are safe”.

A gas safety certificate is given when a Gas Safe registered engineer inspects all gas appliances. The check will see if all appliances are in good working order and will check:

  • Gas appliances are on the right setting and are at the correct operating pressure
  • If any harmful gases are removed from the appliance safely
  • That any ventilation routes working properly
  • If  all safety devices are working properly

It is a letting agent or landlord’s responsibility (whoever manages the property) to make sure that gas safety checks are completed annually.

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Does a landlord need to have a gas safety certificate before serving a Section 21?

To avoid any form of risk, it is important to make sure the property’s gas certificates are up-to-date and available for tenants. Currently, there is a legislative black hole when it comes to gas certification requirements, especially when serving a Section 21 notice.

Landlords or letting agents must have a gas safety certificate either at the start of the agreement or before a tenant moves in, as well as do annual checks for safety in the home. 

However, if the landlord wants to serve a Section 21 notice, it cannot be done unless a gas certificate is available at the start of the tenancy.

It is important to note that the Renters (Reform) Bill is planning to abolish Section 21 “no fault” evictions. However, if a letting agent or landlord wants to ensure they are compliant and avoid any risk, they should have an up-to-date gas certificate for their property. 

Renters (Reform) Bill: your simple guide

Will gas certificates still matter after Section 21 is abolished?

Even if Section 21 is abolished as part of the Renters (Reform) Bill, a gas certificate is still a legal requirement, and it is advised that every landlord or letting agent should have one that is annually up to date. 

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Further reading