An appeal that could have far-reaching implications for landlords’ rights to repossess their properties will be heard tomorrow (January 29th).
Trecarrell v Rouncefield centres on the relationship between Section 21 notices and gas safety certificates.
The landlord, Trecarrell House Limited, was initially granted an order to repossess the property using Section 21 powers, however the tenant successfully appealed on the grounds that they were not provided with a gas safety certificate prior to moving in.
Despite the landlord making the certificate available after the tenancy had begun, the Court ruled that the Section 21 notice were invalid, referring to a previous similar case in which the certificate was made available less than two weeks after the tenant moved in.
The judge in the appeal said that if the gas safety certificate was not served on the tenant before they took up occupation then a Section 21 notice could not be relied on to regain possession – and the situation could not be resolved by serving one after the moving in date.
The RLA is supporting the landlord, Trecarrell House Limited, at the Court of Appeal, on the basis that so long as the gas safety certificate is provided before the Section 21 notice is served, then it is valid.
It argues that the case could breach a landlord’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights on the basis that it deprives them of their possession.
A crowdfunder set up by the RLA to raise money for the appeal raised more than £7,000.
While Section 21 is frequently referred to in the media as a ‘no fault’ eviction, in reality it is in no-one’s interest for landlords to evict good tenants who pay their rent.
John Stewart, RLA policy manager said: “Every tenant has the right to a safe home, and it is vital gas safety checks are carried out and proof provided to the tenant, however the implications of this case could be far reaching.
“It could mean landlords who have safe homes – and the correct certification to prove it – will be unable to remedy the situation if, by some oversight the paperwork is not provided prior to the move-in date.
“In addition, those landlords who cannot prove when they served the certificate could find their tenants are able to avoid eviction, despite the fact that such proof isn’t currently required.”