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HSE Gas Safe Prosecution

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« on: September 26, 2020, 03:30:41 PM »

Hello,

I am looking for some advice please as I've found myself in a very worrying situation.

I have some tenants that are well over 6 months in arrears. They aren't very nice people as you can imagine.

I have a possessions ordered due to take place on 6/10/20. My problem is that I don't have a Gas Safe Certificate for the house. It's just been overlooked. They have lived there for two and a half years without one in place.

The tenants are aware and have reported me to HSE. Today I received a letter from them asking me for proof of the Gas Safety Certificate which of course I don't have. It says on the letter that I could be heavily fined or sentenced to jail. Google suggests the average fine is £6,000.

I feel a fool for not being more organised and I'm very worried at the outcome of any possible court hearing.

I understand it's my fault but the fact that these people have pretty much stolen over £7,000 from me and now they are doing this make me angry and sad.

As I understand, no Gas Safety will not invalidated the Section 8 I served, is that correct?

I have tried to have one done this week but they say they are self isolating. I have proof that they are denying me access but that won't cover the pervious two year.

Has anyone gone through a similar situation? Any knowledge or advice good or bad would be really appreciated.

Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2020, 06:04:47 PM »

It is still worth trying to get a certificate.HSE might excuse the lapse if you prove you want to co-operate.Have  you spoken directly to them,explaining the situation? It cannot be unusual at the present time. Ordinarily I don't think tenants can deny access for such work, provided they are given adequate warning. What do you think your chances are of recovering the rent arrears,do they have jobs,assets?
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2020, 07:38:40 PM »

I understand it's my fault but the fact that these people have pretty much stolen over £7,000 from me and now they are doing this make me angry and sad.

Don't be angry or sad. It gets you nowhere. Other than making you angry and sad, there's nothing in this for your tenants (It won't stop a Section 8 eviction, and I doubt they're on a crusade to protect your future tenants), so don't give them the satisfaction. Look on the bright side: you could have killed them. Next to that, the prospect of shelling out a few grand seems like a bargain.

I'm pretty sure you won't go to prison: you'd literally be a waste of space. Cooperate with the HSE, get a gas check done as soon as possible, and hope it doesn't fail miserably. How old is the boiler?
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2020, 12:15:57 PM »

It is still worth trying to get a certificate.HSE might excuse the lapse if you prove you want to co-operate.Have  you spoken directly to them,explaining the situation? It cannot be unusual at the present time. Ordinarily I don't think tenants can deny access for such work, provided they are given adequate warning. What do you think your chances are of recovering the rent arrears,do they have jobs,assets?

Thanks for your reply. Their 2 weeks self-isolation expires on the 5th October and the court hearing is on the 6th. I have booked a plumber to do the certificate on the 5th but I doubt they'll let me in. At least I have some evidence that I've tried.

Little chance of getting much of the money back. They're moving into a council home. He works, she doesn't, but he doesn't hold down a job for long. He's a delivery driver so was able to work throughout lockdown. No assets that I know of.
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2020, 12:23:53 PM »

I understand it's my fault but the fact that these people have pretty much stolen over £7,000 from me and now they are doing this make me angry and sad.

Don't be angry or sad. It gets you nowhere. Other than making you angry and sad, there's nothing in this for your tenants (It won't stop a Section 8 eviction, and I doubt they're on a crusade to protect your future tenants), so don't give them the satisfaction. Look on the bright side: you could have killed them. Next to that, the prospect of shelling out a few grand seems like a bargain.

I'm pretty sure you won't go to prison: you'd literally be a waste of space. Cooperate with the HSE, get a gas check done as soon as possible, and hope it doesn't fail miserably. How old is the boiler?

And thank you for your reply too :)

I know, it's just difficult not to let it get you down. Like you say, there's nothing in it for them. I've genuinely been so patient and good to them and when I finally try to evict them they act like I'm acting out of place.

I know it's unlikely I'll go to prison but even a suspended sentence would ruin my life. Most likely a fine but I imagine it'd be pretty big and I'm not particularly wealthy.

The boiler is about 8 years old. It's a Ferrolli so it's not very good. I know that they have had trouble with it working properly but haven't told me because of the arrears. They've never asked me for a Gas Safe either. I know it's not their responsibility but at least it shows I didn't intentionally miss it. 
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2020, 03:26:21 PM »

This perspective is ludicrous. You've not been good to them... you've potentially endangered their lives. There's a good reason GSCs exist. Much more so than other legislation like Right to Rent checks, Deposit protection or even the recent Electrical safety. You've known you've got a bad boiler in there... that they've been having trouble with and you've been negligent at best.

I quote Which... "The answer was a resounding yes as of all the 1-star reviews we received, 52% were given to just one manufacturer: Ferroli."

Each year I take a day of Leave from work and I chaperone the Heating Engineer from property to property, ensuring each one is done, and I can be there myself to not only see if, but hear anything the Engineer might say directly. I walk away from each property with my GSC clutched to my breast. Why? Because of the safety aspect... and, secondarily, the potential for outcomes like this. I am very much wanting you to relay to us what happens. It will be interesting to understand what teeth they have. I realise this scare might be enough to persuade you to change your ways from now on... but there's a part of me that hopes you get more than a rap on the knuckles (not a sentence) because there are no real extenuating circumstances here. In fact, maybe the Tenants not paying rent could be somehow attributed to them, maybe, not having heating and you, maybe, doing diddly-squat about it. Two sides to every story. I don't condone not paying rent. I don't condone not having a GSC for what seems like 3 years.
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2020, 10:40:12 AM »

Yes, you're right. I didn't really appreciate how important it was and potentially unsafe it may be before this happened otherwise I absolutely wouldn't have neglected it. I will definitely always make sure that I have the checks done on time in the future.

The have never been without heating nor have they ever reported a fault with the boiler.

I will report back once it's all over as I'm sure it'll be helpful for others to know in the future. 
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2020, 11:20:42 AM »

When the dust settles... if you're feeling giddy about not having had a great big fine land on you... potentially invest in a better boiler before re-letting? In the long-run it's better for you too, as it gives you peace of mind. You can get boilers with 7 or 10 years warranty now and all you have to do is have it Serviced each year... but you can do that at the same time as the GSC, likely for a small premium. In fact, what I do is have the Installers of my boilers do the GSCs and any that they installed they'll also Service FoC. Basically... it's just a few minutes more each time.

And, yes, you can still arrange a boiler replacement from behind bars... inmates are getting mobile phones in all the time if you listen to the News. Don't drop it, though...
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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2020, 08:57:54 PM »

If a boiler check is booked in & you canít get entry as long as you rebook the heating engineer arenít you covered, obviously not 2 years worth.
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2020, 09:43:28 PM »

Failing to get entry because the tenant won't let you in isn't a defence or excuse for the offence I don't think. Having said that, if you can evidence that you've made all reasonable efforts, then you almost certainly won't be prosecuted.
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