Landlords may recall the case of Carridon Property Limited v Monty Shooltz which has caused a number of problems for landlords. This case held that a failure to serve a gas safety certificate prior to the tenant entering into occupation of a property meant that a landlord could never rely on a section 21 notice as a means of recovering possession of the property. In other words it was an irremediable breach.
The Court of Appeal in the case of Trecarrel House Ltd v Rouncefield has now held that the obligation to provide a gas safety certificate prior to the commencement of the tenancy can be complied with late. So long as the record is served before or at the time that the section 21 notice is served, the notice will be valid.
The case has also held that the failure to carry out subsequent gas checks within 12 months and serve the certificate is also not fatal to a section 21 notice.
What this case means is that for the majority of landlords who may have not served the gas safety certificate prior to the commencement of the tenancy, provided that it is served before or at the time of the section 21 notice, the notice will be valid.
However, there remains an issue where a landlord does not have a gas safety record for the property at the time of the commencement of the tenancy i.e. a matter of non-compliance rather than late compliance. Can a valid notice still be served? The answer to this question is unknown. If there is no gas safety certificate in place at the time of the commencement of the tenancy then it is arguable that a landlord can never rely on a section 21 notice as a means of recovering possession of the property. This may have to be the subject of further review by the courts.
Once last point … it is not known at this stage as to whether the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court.
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