THE Court of Appeal yesterday sided with private landlords in a case which threatened the way they could repossess properties.
The case of Trecarrell v Rouncefield centred 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 Courts initially ruled that the Section 21 notice was invalid, referring to a previous similar case in which the certificate was made available less than two weeks after the tenant moved in.
The Court of Appeal has now ruled that Section 21 notices are valid provided a Gas Safety Certificate is issued before the notice is given to the tenant, not before a tenant moves into a property.
Prior to the NRLA being formed the Residential Landlords Association supported the landlord, arguing the situation could have breached a landlord’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights on the basis that it deprives them of their possession.
A crowd funding campaign set up by the RLA to raise money for the appeal raised more than £7,000.
John Stewart, Deputy Policy Director for the NRLA said:
“We welcome the clarity that today’s ruling brings for the sector.
“Going forward however, ministers remain committed to eventually getting rid of Section 21 altogether.
“We have been campaigning to ensure that such moves are only made within the context of improvements to the way courts handle cases and clear, comprehensive and timely routes for landlords to repossess properties in legitimate circumstances.
“We are heartened therefore that the Housing Minister has made clear that such changes will only be made “in a considered manner” and not as an immediate response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Tony Kent, Head of the Property Litigation team at Mackrell Solicitors, said:
“For landlords this decision comes as an enormous relief since the consequences of the ruling of the lower Courts have seemed disproportionately severe for them, especially when there is a GSR is in existence and the landlord or their agent had either forgotten to serve it or the tenant has denied receipt at the beginning of the tenancy.”
The decision of the Court was not unanimous with Lord Justice Moylan disagreeing with the decision.
It is believed that an appeal is being considered.