Our story yesterday on the fall-out from a legal case last year, where a landlord could not serve a Section 21 notice, aroused interest – and questions.
In the Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Shooltz case, the landlord had not served the tenant with a current gas safety certificate before the tenant moved in.
The county court judge, who heard the appeal and is a prominent housing expert, ruled that this was a breach which could not be rectified by subsequent service of the certificate.
One of the comments posted on EYE yesterday raised the issue, suggesting our story had been poorly written: “I think that it’s the clarification between pre- deregulation tenancies and post- deregulation tenancies that needs sorting.
“Deregulation deals with prescribed information required for tenancies after 1 October 2015, tenancies prior were not subject to prescribed information so the question is, can the legislation/judgement be applied retrospectively?”
We asked the National Landlords Association, which is leading the charge in demanding clarification from the Government, about this.
A spokesperson told us: “On the pre/post Act issue there has been some confusion because from 1 October 2018 some provisions of the Act were extended to all ASTs even those which began prior to 2015.
“However, the prescribed information requirements and sanctions were not extended.”
So, there is still lack of clarity.
Nor is it clear as to whether other possible ‘breaches’ where information is not supplied before the start of a tenancy can be rectified.
Agents and landlords are meant to give tenants the latest version of the Government’s How to Rent leaflet. But when?
The NLA says that failure to serve this notice at the start of a tenancy can be rectified at any time before a Section 21 is required.
In other words, it is best practice to serve it upfront, but an omission can be dealt with subsequently.
Energy Performance Certificates should also be served to tenants, but how crucial the timing is has not been clarified in law, with the issue yet to be tested in court, said the NLA.