Yesterday the Court of Appeal handed down judgement in the case of Trecarrell House Ltd v Rouncefield 2020 which by all accounts is possibly great news for buyers, receivers and asset managers

Valid Section 21 Notices

The ruling appears to set out and show that a #landlord’s failure to provide a #tenant under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (#AST) with a copy of a current Gas Safety Certificate, before a tenant takes up occupation of the property would NOT prevent the landlord from being able to serve a valid #section21 notice to try and take steps to end the agreement. This is on the basis that a copy of the relevant Gas Safety Certificate has been provided by the landlord to the tenant before the #section21 notice is served. 

A change of tune in favour of landlords which after the original ruling raised a flurry of concerns filling our phone lines and inbox which all stemmed from Caridon Property Limited v Shooltz  a case from early 2018. In this case the Court ruled that the landlord’s failure to serve a tenant with the Gas Safety Certificate before the tenant took up occupation of the property cannot be retrospectively remedied, and resulted in the landlord not being able to serve a valid section 21 notice to try and take back possession of the property.

Although the ruling in the case was only given by a County Court, a huge number of other cases followed, including in Rouncefield, particularly as the presiding judge in Caridon case was a leading housing law practitioner. 

Gas Safety Certificates

The decision by the Court of Appeal’s decision brings the law in relation to Gas Safety Certificates in line with the other prescribed requirements for serving a valid Section 21 notice, such as (but not limited to) providing an Energy Performance Certificate along with the How to Rent Booklet, which any landlord is required to provide to the tenant before an AST commences. However, if it fails to do so (or cannot prove it did so), it can retrospectively deal with the same by providing copies to the tenant prior to seeking to take possession under a section 21 notice.

Who is the judgement good news for?

This judgment is also particularly great news for #Buyers, who purchase a property with an already existing tenant in place, as obtaining proof of all required steps being taken can lead to not only confusion, but possibly concerns requiring the seller to evict a tenant prior to completion taking place.

This is also good news for #Lender, appointed #receivers, beneficiaries of estate, Landlords and #insolvencypractitioners who are tasked with a role to either seek possession of a property with very limited knowledge or inherit property with no knowledge at all.

Advice for the future

Going forward, to prevent any issues and possible full blown claims arising we advise it is best practise to ensure that all tenants (by way of an AST) are provided with the necessary papers, including a valid Gas Safety Certificate from the time the tenancy was entered into, prior to seeking possession under a section 21 notice.

Always a what if

One area of concern that does not appear to have been addressed is what if you do not have a valid gas safety certificate bearing a date prior to the commencement of the agreement? Unfortunately in the current case this did not need to even be considered, as although the tenant was not given the relevant certificate before moving in to the property, the certificate was in existence and was dated prior to the commencement date of the tenancy and was provided prior to the eviction process being commenced.

This poses to be some positive news to an already precarious property issue, which several clients will be happy about.  For further advice on any property or landlord tenant matters contact Curwens Property #dreamteam or Curwens Property #Disputeresolution team on 0208 363 4444.

Please note that our briefings are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice.

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