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In what could prove to be a landmark moment for landlords seeking to redress the legislative primacy given to tenants in the Private Rented Sector (‘PRS’), the Court of Appeal has granted the landlord permission to appeal in the case of Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield.
The crux of the dispute is whether a landlord can serve a valid section 21 notice when the gas safety certificate has not been given to the tenant before they moved into the property. In addition, the Court of Appeal will need to consider whether this requirement constitutes a breach of a landlord’s right to peaceful enjoyment of their property prescribed by Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights.
Since the Housing Act 1988 (‘the Act’) came into force, landlords have utilised section 21 to evict tenants who are subject to a fixed term Assured Shorthold Tenancy without reason, on or after the end of the term, on not less than two months’ notice.
Whilst the landlord is not required to justify their decision to remove the tenant under this section, they are subject to certain procedural obligations. These obligations are set out in the Deregulation Act 2015 and include placing a duty on landlords to provide tenants with a gas safety certificate (where there is a gas supply to the property) prior to serving valid notice on the tenant.
Recent case law has strictly enforced the uncompromising regulation of landlords to the benefit of the tenant in the PRS. Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Schooltz and a whole host of other County Court Judgments held that a landlord was prevented from using the section 21 procedure where they had failed to provide the tenant with a gas safety certificate at the onset of the tenancy. Providing a gas safety certificate before serving a section 21 notice is insufficient. This decision was followed by HHJ Carr in Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield.
The Court of Appeal’s decision will be of great importance to landlords, tenants and indeed any party with an interest in the PRS. If HHJ Carr’s decision is upheld, then tenants will be afforded even greater security and it will impose a strict regulatory burden on landlords as a whole.
The Court of Appeal hearing has now been set for January 2020 so watch this space.