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Expired GSC, Tenant won't allow access.

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Author Topic: Expired GSC, Tenant won't allow access.  (Read 100 times)
Newbie
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« on: July 31, 2022, 12:38:29 PM »

Hi everyone,
I'm new! Both to the forum and to being a landlord as you'll guess from the profile name. Thanks in advance for your understanding if I'm not as clued up on all matters of property rental as your good selves.
So, my tenant, now on a rolling contract after the expiry of the AST, isn't making things easy access wise. I've had gas and electrical safety check booked numerous times. Everytime, 2 or 3days before they are due, he cancels due to work commitments or poor health.
We plan on selling the property asap, but first I need to find the best way to give notice, and I've assumed, possibly incorrectly, that I need to have the safety certificates prior to serving notice. After much googling it seems I'm unable to use a section 21 with no GSC. Can anyone confirm this is the case even when the tenant is preventing the check? As stated above, the GSC was valid and given to the tenant at the start of the tenancy, it has only expired as a result of his repeated cancellations. Everything I can find online in relation to this seems to refer to the ruling in 2018 in relation to when the GSC was served after a tenant had moved in, and from what I can make of it does not apply to this case. It seems utterly ridiculous that a tenant can obstruct safety checks and thus prolong their stay in a potentially unsafe property?!?
My tenancy agreement states, as I'm sure they all do, that it is the tenants duty to allow access for maintenance. So I'm assuming he is in breach of tenancy as a result. The question is how to go about ending the tenancy. Can I just give 2 months notice even without the safety certificates? If so, how?
Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can offer, it is much appreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2022, 03:16:01 PM »

You do need to have everything in place before you can give notice.I think you need to be especially careful,as it sounds as if this tenant may be very awkward when you try to evict.You have a legal right to gain entry to inspect and have repairs and legal requirements carried out. The fact that the tenant has been difficult will be no defence if you fail to carry out your legal duties as a landlord. You don't say how long he has lived there,was it before the electrical testing became mandatory? If so,you are way overdue.You need to give 24 hours notice at least, before tradesmen call,and if he refuses to be present then  be there yourself.
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2022, 07:29:46 PM »

The fact that the tenant has been difficult will be no defence if you fail to carry out your legal duties as a landlord.

I believe, if the Tenant is obstructive in the way described, and attempts by the Landlord are foiled, but documented, there will be some level of defence if the worst came to the worst and the Tenant decided to cause more fuss by reporting the Landlord. However, as far eviction, I doubt the lack of the required certifications will fly. However, again, there must be some leeway for if the Tenant is obviously obstructive. We cannot just say - give them notice you're attending, they refuse access, and you just do it anyway... more likely we'd say - give them notice you're attending, they refuse access and you don't do it anyway, but you record the fact you were stopped from carrying out what you knew you had to... and then use that in your favour.

"numerous", though, I don't think is good enough... what is that number? Could be 2... that's perfectly reasonable (although objectionable from your perspective) and I've had it happen myself. Especially with Covid, I certainly had one Tenant who rescheduled a GSC more than three times (and that was her not being particularly difficult).
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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2022, 09:39:35 AM »

I would agree that having proof that a tenant refused access for say a  small plumbing leak or a broken hob would probably cover one.When it comes to gas safety, I would not like to be the one trying to defend myself if the worst happened. I don't think it is showing lack of respect for tenant privacy to insist on some things.What if water was pouring through a hole in the ceiling and they refused access?
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« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2022, 11:20:11 AM »

There aren't any test cases I know of about the GSC issue with a section 21 notice.
There is a provision in the GSC process itself where a landlord can escape a fine for no GSC if they can show that they made attempts to get one done and that the tenant declined to allow the access.
But that doesn't help with a section 21 notice.

And I don't think that the court has any actual discretion, the wording of the legislation is quite specific.
Unless you want to get a court order to compel access (which is likely to be expensive), you could try the section 8 possession route with the breach of the tenancy agreement as grounds - the court might instruct the tenant to comply.
That doesn't mean that the notice is guaranteed to fail, but it might.

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