This week is Gas Safety Week, and to mark this our Call of the Week focuses on a member who called us with a query about a gas safety certificate.
The query was about a property being rented by the caller’s son. The son shares with four other students, and they are all on separate contracts with the landlord.
The landlord had not provided the caller’s son with a copy of the property’s gas safety certificate, and when asked to, the landlord failed to do so.
Despite having lived in the property for just under a month, the caller’s son was so concerned about not seeing the gas safety certificate for the property, that they moved back home.
The member called our landlord advice team wanting to know two things relating to their son’s situation.
Firstly, the caller wanted to know what could be done about the landlord who had failed to provide the gas safety certificate.
Secondly, the caller had already paid their son’s rent for an entire year – nearly £3,000, because a credit check could not be completed on them before the tenancy began due to the caller being self-employed.
The member wanted advice on whether they could claim any of this prepaid rent back.
Our adviser began by confirming the caller’s initial thoughts, that because the son had not been provided with a gas safety certificate for the property he was renting, the landlord had committed an offence.
Under the gas safety regulations, it is a requirement by law to have a CP12 issued for any gas supply in a property.
Failure to provide a CP12 for a gas supply to the property is an offence in its self and can result in a custodial sentence or a fine – or even both.
Gas Safety Regulations section (3) and (36) state that it is the duty of the landlord to provide and maintain gas safety.
The caller informed the adviser that the landlord had already been reported to environmental health, who went to assess the property recently. Our adviser also suggested that it might be a good idea to report the landlord in this case to the local council.
The conversation then moved on to whether the caller would be able to get any of the money back for the year’s rent they had already paid in advance.
Our adviser informed the caller that because the rent for the whole year had already been paid upfront and the caller’s son had already entered into a legal contract with the landlord, the caller in this case would not be able to claim that amount back. This is because this would mean the son would have to leave to contract early-but it is legally binding for a set period of time.
Section 2 (h) of the Indian Contract Act 1872 defines a contract as an agreement that is enforceable by law. The contract states that there are ten essential elements of a valid contract. In this case, the son had met these elements and had entered into a legally binding contract with the landlord. As a result, liability for the rent continued so money could not be claimed back.
Landlord Advice Team manager, Rupinder Aujla said: “The academic year has started and many students and parents may come across problems in properties for their child. Students/ parents should notify the council directly if the landlord or agent becomes difficult in ensuring the property is safe”
The caller, although disappointed they couldn’t claim any money back but satisfied with the advice they received, thanked the adviser for his time.
For more information about gas safety, the RLA run training courses on this. For more information and to book please see here.