Court of Appeal backs Landlord

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A Court of Appeal judgement has concluded that failure to provide a gas safety certificate prior to a tenant moving into a property is not sufficient reason to prevent a landlord serving a section 21 notice – provided the relevant certificate has been given before service of the notice.

The decision, in the case of Trecarrell House Ltd v Rouncefield has been welcomed by the National Residential Landlords Association.

NRLA had supported the landlord Trecarrell House, arguing the situation could have breached a landlord’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights on the basis that it deprives them of their possession. A crowd funding campaign set up to raise money for the appeal raised more than £7,000.

‘We welcome the clarity that today’s ruling brings for the sector’, said NRLA deputy policy director John Steward.

‘Going forward however, ministers remain committed to eventually getting rid of Section 21 altogether. We have been campaigning to ensure that such moves are only made within the context of improvements to the way courts handle cases and clear, comprehensive and timely routes for landlords to repossess properties’.

By a majority, the Court of Appeal held that a s21 notice could be given so long as the landlord had – at any time before service of the s21 notice – given the tenant a copy of the gas safety certificate that was in force before they entered into occupation and a copy of any further certificate that related to a subsequent  inspection.

Failure to provide the original gas safety certificate prior to a tenant moving into a rental property is not fatal to a s21 claim so long as it is provided before the s.21 notice is served. Likewise, the failure to carry out the annual inspection in time is not fatal so long as it too is given before the s21 notice is served. Given the huge number of gas safety inspections that have been missed as a result of the current public health crisis, this is likely to be a relief for many landlords.

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