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I recently had a gas safety certificate issued by British Gas courtesy of a 'freebie' offered via changing mortgage arrangements with 'The Mortgage Works.' (so far so good!)
The following paperwork was issued:

1. A 'checklist' sheet of paper given to the tenant which indicated that all was satisfactory but including advice notes.
2. Within 48 hours I received, via email, all the ned-cessarire-es from British gas, including the certificate itself.
3. a few days after that, the tenants received a letter and enclosed was a copy of the gas certificate. I have seen this paperwork.

Very professional, very swift.

Here's the problem I have and British Gas clearly doesn't so far agree there is a problem.

My home address is showing on the certificate sent to the tenant. In other words, without knowing this was going to happen (no warning or advice at time of bookng nor any option to supply a correspondence address for the tenant copy) British Gas has told the tenants where I live. I find this unnerving and it should have been my choice. It always had been.

In my view, given that where I live was imparted without my knowledge or consent, this is a potential breach of the DPA (Data Protection Act). Of much more relevance to me than the 'politically correct silly-isms' of that Act, however, is that I simply did not want the tenants to know where I live!

Some landlords may be comfortable with this i.e not be so tetchy or private and put their home address on the AST. My guess is plenty of others of you will cringe at the thought. To balance things here, in 9 years of being a landlord, I have only had two incidents where I felt threatened in my own home. One was in 2007, a threat to kill (a one off nutter, subsequently sectioned and hopefully with memory loss; better still buried in the woods with his own shovel somewhere) and a tenant who visited to ask to pay the rent late. I have since used a correspondence or 'business' address so as to conform with the requirements of an AST. I wouldn't even want the nicest of tenants turning up at my door, should I still need to defend the point.

The lady at British Gas Landlord customer services I talked to ('Lindsay: ironically no surname is offered for security purposes) troubled to read the relevant 'point of sale' script out to make the point that I would have very clearly been asked for my 'billing address.'
None of this was in contention and so we went -very civilly- round and round. Rather than just present a problem, I suggested the simple solution of altering the script to say something like 'Are you aware the billing address you are about to give will be included on the gas safety record of which the tenant will receive a copy? If you wish to give a business address for the tenant copy I will ask you for that next also.' I had previously offered a simpler option: under 'Landlord/Agent details,' the tenant's copy could simply read 'as per tenancy agreement.' Lindsay said that was not possible because British Gas wouldn't have a copy of the agreement. I did mention round and round, didn't I...?

This all went down like a lead balloon and so, what had initially been intended as an 'observation,' I decided to escalate to a complaint. Lindsay Nosurnameforsecuritypurposes reassures me she will advise their 'control and risks' department. Careful!

Aware that it may thereafter be lost in the abyss of a welter, ney a plethora of complaints and occasional compliments to British Gas, I asked Lindsay to advise that department to get in touch with me once they have had a chance to evaluate. I suggested 14 days and she agreed.

If anyone is interested, let me know your thoughts and I will update. In any event, should you have used British Gas for landlord safety certificates and you are unhappy as I am at the prospect we all know where you live, at least you know the department to ask for.

Something is not quite right here.

Peter

Since the tenant is entitled to your home address anyway, and not supplying it is a criminal offence (see LL&T Act 1985 S1
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/section/1
& s38
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/section/38
"" 38 Minor definitions.

In this Act—
“address” means a person’s place of abode or place of business or, in the case of a company, its registered office; ""

& he can probably find you from social media...

& also for only £3 from land registry
https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry
(If your address is on land registry as the rented property don't be surprised to find an occupant has either re-mortgaged it or sold it - in your name... by simply setting up accounts there in your name etc etc...)

- can't see what your problem is??

Sorry to hear you've been threatened (so have I by ex-tenant..) but as they can find you if they really want to then tenants knowing your real address is just part of the fun of being a landlord: If too unacceptable then have property in another country/jurisdiction where this is not an issue or invest in some other business instead.

Cheers!

An interesting take and thanks for replying so comprehensively. I am not so sure -but am not, therefore, 100% sure!- that giving a home address as a matter of course is a statutory requirement as you state. Indeed, the Act and section to which you refer does mention 'place of abode' but also appears to me to give other options.

Section 38 does define 'address' as follows and to which you have already quoted:
' “address” means a person’s place of abode or place of business or, in the case of a company, its registered office.. " ‘
On that basis, I see no compulsion to give your 'place of abode.’

It is -perhaps we can agree- open to some conjecture or (mis)interpretation. Bottom line seems to be.. if you have a business premises, or a place of work, you can give 'em that! Paranoid Andy here would be happy with that but also, I would suggest, any others reading this who don't relish the prospect of errant tenants pitching up for an argument; some of those we have to jump through hoops to take to court to evict, don't forget. It can get very personal. I don't want it on my doorstep (again).

The previous poster may though have the better point in regard to the law relating specifically to AST's (NLA put this to me) and I continue to look into this, hopefully with NLA's assistance. I appreciate the location of the requirement is essentially a relative detail. I would like to find it if it's out there and definitely, t'is all!

It may be possible that it is here or elsewhere that a tenant's demands for a 'home address' may state the landlord is obliged. I myself doubt the legislation would present two opposing sides. I will keep the forum posted. All good stuff. We live and learn!

The NLA so far agrees with the previous poster's take on this, stating that a home address would indeed need to be issued on demand and within 28 days (the Act states 21 days for an address to be given) and provided me the following link.

Different location, in the Act then (academic) but identical definition to 'address' giving two options other than your home address. To me, it very clearly still does not compel the disclosure of 'where you live,' only the requirement to supply an address at which, by definition, a landlord can be contacted.
Other posters welcome! Read the relevant sections. I think the answers are there as they should be.

As I said earlier, I am no legal specialist but my best guess is that the spirit of the law here is that a landlord must be reliably contactable for the serving of legal papers. It may be possible that on demand the information of home address must then be supplied. Everyone but me seems to think so.
Call me Joan D'arc (and excuse me while I shift my tainted halo.)

The previous poster asks what my 'problem' is. Essentially, it is the lack of my seeing this one coming but I think this is already well enough explained.

I maintain that where you live is a private matter or a matter for the trader or landlord to disclose as they see fit. I do not support the view that such details can be given out either deliberately or inadvertently by a third party (as may be so in the case of British Gas who, after all, did use the term 'billing address.')
I believe that the LTA (Landlord and Tenant Act 1985) eloquently supports the view of 'no absolute compulsion for a landlord to give a home address on demand' by clearly quoting two alternative options under its own definition of what it means by ‘address.'

The previous poster is quite correct in saying that a Landlord is in any event likely to be traceable to a home address by other means but this rather side-steps the point I have, it seems, unsuccessfully tried to put across. It is, perhaps, tantamount to saying '..So what's all the fuss about?'

The fuss is worth making because one example of disclosure of home address involves passive, back door disclosure by a third party unconnected with the tenancy agreement or any dispute or enquiries relating to it.
The other involves a tenant taking prudent, positive and legitimate steps to find where you live, perhaps because they are suffering at the hands of an errant landlord who has only provided a mobile number. That remains the tenant's prerogative and so it should (Freedom of Information and all that jazz, the interesting antithesis to Data Protection Act, it should be noted.)

I do take your point that for those who find it 'too unacceptable' they should think of something else to do. That doesn't apply to me. I do have properties abroad; that has its own virtues and hassles!

For me and in any event, the remedy is... use my usual local gas safe engineers and instruct them to put 'as per agreement.' Or leave it blank. Others who feel similarly protective may wish to do the same and, on that basis, it's good to talk !

I have asked NLA to run this by their lawyers and it will be interesting if they will and more importantly, if they do, what the legally qualified perspective is.

******

In summary, my two posers, principally for the attention of NLA legal team to consider, are as follows:

1. British Gas has contravened the DPA by disclosing personal client details (home address) to a third party without due authority.

2. There is no requirement for a landlord to issue a tenant with their home address (where business address options are available)...

..2b (!).. I will add one for the hell of it.. a (different) rented address can be cited as a business address for the purposes of the well established legislative requirement for the serving of papers.

I refer to disclosure in the context of civil matters only such as that of most tenancy disputes.

I will update this in 14 days

Sorted? Pretty much. No-one died!

Peter
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70

If asked for it, there is a requirement, see s1 of LL&T 1985
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/section/1
- and failure to do so within 21 days is a criminal offence.

Sadly it does not seem councils prosecute landlords/agents/those-getting-the-rent often enough.

Appreciate others hold other views..

Aye:

Just to be clear:
- I am in favour of tenants staying within the law:
- I am equally in favour of landlords staying within the law.

Hi there,

By way of update and with reference to my first posting of 2nd March, sad to say NLA has so far not graced me with any view (or acknowledgement) since I requested advice on 3rd March in a long email, asking their legal beagles to give the issues raised their learned take.
This is disappointing but not 'first time,' regrettably. Is it that apparent old fear of putting anything at all in writing?

'Which? Mortgage Advisers,' on the other hand -who, to remind you, facilitated a free gas safety inspection on my changing a mortgage with them- gave a same-day, clear view, which shares mine.
That is, that British Gas, in giving landlord home address details to tenants, with neither knowledge nor consent, breaches the Data Protection Act.
Obvious, when you think of it.

'Which?' also agrees that inadvertent disclosure is weak mitigation, albeit case law shows it is frequently served up, particularly by the multi-nationals. I suspect I will ultimately force a similar squeak from British Gas.

'Which?' didn't stop there. The senior executive I was privileged to be called by asked if I would like her to get in touch with their mainframe, 'Which? Magazine' for it, in turn, to consider national exposure via its rather excellent monthly publication.
'Which?' is an organisation that cares deeply about its members and I now forgive them almost entirely for increasing my member subscription last year. (Worth it just if only to use their superb and objective, 'no- commission-we're-happliy-salaried, thanks' mortgage advisers.)

And breathe out...

British Gas has also failed so far to either pour oil on troubled waters or agree to change their 'selling script' but less of a shock or surprise about that. I'm not a paying member of theirs, so why should they care? Yep, will chase them also since I have absolutely nothing better to do.

Peter

On the issue of "home address", I agree tenant should have a proper service address & can't be a PO box etc.
Having evicted some for illegal activities including drug abuse in common parts, I now have proper business premises and will no longer supply my abode. I have also been given permission (having given good reason as to why) changed the details on land registry, so my rental property details have my business address for contact, not home.
By the way, British Gas are proud of their links with Shelter & their "access" to PRS homes. As I understand it, have information sharing in place to report what an engineer may see as poor conditions. I have no time for bad landlords, but also take the view that if I send a contractor to do anything, he is working for me - not Shelter.

I've gone for all using all three addresses possible on LR (think one of them is an email one) to reduce risk for fraud: Hope your business premises are not shared & you can fully trust anyone else there with access to the mail.. (quite easy to sell property or re-mortgage, fraudulently, if not....)

What an excellent idea ref: land registry, 2014. Good for you, very intuitive!
You are absolutely correct in regard to PO boxes. These are not acceptable as correspondence addresses for landlords

Finally got a reply from NLA by email after complaining rather bitterly late last week.

The point re: NLA not replying to what ended up as two emails on the issues above (the original and a re-send two weeks on: both 'mullered') was not well addressed. The first one was not received apparently but the second, sent of course to the same address @admin made it rather clear there had been one before. Same nil response regardless which remains disappointing.

It's a detail.

The more significant, central issue re: British Gas and the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is in essence finally and definitively answered by NLA and, contrary to my first contact with NLA helpline where I was categorically advised that Landlords are legally compelled by the Landlord and Tenant Act to give a 'home address', the view from their senior manager, Richard Price (Director of Operations) is that of mine and, indeed the highly respected mortgage arm of Which? Magazine.

You do not.

British Gas was chased by me since they failed to respond within the 14 days they had agreed to having -they had promised- discussed with senior management (oh the irony, the deja vu!).

It steadfastly refuses to even consider changing their 'booking script' to simply let landlords know that tenants will be given details of where you live, if that is the same as your billing address (and,let's face it, it usually is.) If they did tweak that, there could not possibly be a breach and none of this would have been necessary to mention.

Another good reason, in my view, to avoid British Gas and use decent local independents?

But that is another story. And shall be told another time!

Cheers.

Peter

Hi Peter

I understand that you have been in correspondence with Richard about this matter, so I wont revisit that conversation - other than to apologies once more for the lack of a timely reply to your earlier message.

In respect of the advice given I think it is probably worth explaining why the advice may have appeared inconsistent.

Unfortunately in this, and many other areas of landlord and tenant law, there is more than one piece of legislation of relevant - creating the potential for confusion.

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, apparently referred to by the NLA Advice Line does indeed state that a landlord must provide "a written statement of the landlord’s name and address within the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which he receives the request." This is open to interpretation, and is sometimes considered to insist on 'home' address, but is not specified. The act goes on to define “address” as "a person’s place of abode or place of business or, in the case of a company, its registered office." Thereby providing a little more flexibility.

The 1987 Act of the same name adds to this in relation to the address which must be provided for rent to become due.

This has been tested in law and generally considered to refer to a relevant address for the service of notices, from which business is conducted.

The regulations to which I believe Richard was referring, and which have most relevant here, are the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, which state that "the name and address of the landlord of the premises (or, where appropriate, his agent) at which the appliance or flue is installed" should be provided.

It would seem that British Gas have failed to provide the opportunity to substitute your home address, potentially breaching its duties re. your privacy. Although this will depend on the terms and conditions of the agreement made with them.

Thanks for that. I think between us all, we have finally got to the bottom of the two main issues. In essence and in summary, at least some members here are now well informed that the address they give as a billing address will be evident on the tenant copy of a British Gas safety certificate (CP12) and that a business address, where available ~rather than 'where you actually live'~ is in other circumstances, such as on an AST., both lawful and appropriate.

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states this in its own definition of 'address' clearly enough, I have always thought and this has been very well referenced throughout the threads of this discussion. That said, it evidently continues to cause confusion, including among some NLA members who quote it.

Here's to clarification!

In regard to British Gas and its potential breach of the Data Protection Act, I will continue to seek they amend their 'booking script' to properly 'warn and inform,' in absence of any better offer to place a business address on the two CP12's issued, at the landlords's discretion.
'Which? Mortgages' seems keen to assist me with this and Richard Price, NLA's Director of Operations has also thoughtfully suggested he runs it past British Gas at his next opportunity. I would be greatly obliged to know how this goes since it is obvious NLA has a better voice than I ever will.

It's exhausting but all for the benefit of my fellow members. (Excuse me while I readjust my halo.)

Thanks again and to other members here for their input.

Knowledge is power!

Peter

I completely agree with Peter. I paid for a gas safety certificate, the property was not yet let out and to my shock they sent a leter addresed to 'the tenants' which had my addres. I complained to them about it, and have done it on several ocassions but they just carry on insisting thats how they do it- how ridiculous ( its obviously a breach of data protection.

Ps: I am also shocked that they recieve the landlord cash and are working against us behind our back with 'shelter' - I had no idea this was going on.

Pps: NLA should take this issue up with british gas- this is obviously happening to thousands of landlords

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