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.