The Court of Appeal has handed down judgement on the contentious Trecarrell House vs Patricia Rouncefield case and has backed landlords

Both sides in the case sought to clarify if landlords can serve a Section 21 eviction notice on a tenant when a Gas Safety Certificate has been served after a tenancy has begun.

A valid certificate is one of several pieces of paperwork landlords must give tenants before they move into a property in order to enable a later valid Section 21 eviction.

Tenant Patricia Rouncefield has sought to clarify this important point of law after her landlord Trecarrell House attempted to serve a S21 notice on her despite having provided a Gas Safety Certificate after her tenancy began

- Advertisement -

Three judges, Lord Justices Patten, King and Moylan, have this morning passed judgement in this case following the hearing in January during which evidence was presented from both sides.

Gas safety certificate

Rouncefield’s property had a valid gas certificate both before and during her tenancy but she was not given a copy prior to when she moved in during February 2017. She was served with a Section 21 notice on 1st May 2018.

The judges each gave their own commentary on the case but agreed that ‘as long as the [Gas Safety certificate] is provided to the tenant prior to service of the section 21, the notice will be valid’.

In the commentary on the decision, the lead judge said: “It is difficult to reconcile this interpretation of the law with legislation which would appear to be aimed at ensuring the safety of tenants.

“Similarly, I find it hard to balance this interpretation with the actual wording of regulation 36(6)(b) of the 1998 Regulations which states that the GSR needs to be given to any new tenant “before that tenant occupies those premises.

“I would agree with Moylan LJ’s characterisation of the majority finding: late service of the GSR for the purposes of 36(6)(b) becomes a mere “procedural requirement” rather than a “substantive sanction”.

Industry reaction

Tim Frome, Head of Legal at Landlord Action, says: “We’ve been waiting with baited breath for this decision from the Court of Appeal and on the face of it the news is fantastic for landlords such that, due to an admin error, they can’t be prevented from serving a Section 21 notice.

“This judgement may be further appealed, but as long as a certificate is served before a S21 notice then that will be sufficient.

“At Landlord Action we have a small percentage of cases where this problem has arisen and our clients will be heaving a huge sigh of relief.”

John Stewart, Deputy Policy Director for the NRLA, which supported Trecarrell House during the initial stages of the case, says: “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.”

Read the judgement in full.

Subscribe to LandlordZONE

12 COMMENTS

  1. I must say , it appears to me the whole thing is like a game . The whole idea must be to provide a safe and reasonable property for people to live .
    As a landlord we all want a reasonable and also Responsible tenant who can live there for long term . I think the government must stay out of it abd leave everything to market with minimum interference and bad landlords will be driven out by the market . The government think all the landlords are bad , unless you prove yourself that your are a good landlord. You must be bad.
    The government has not got a glue about how bad and disruptive some tenant can be and how costly it is to get rid of a bad tenant , but they keep coming up with more and more regulations to make it impossible to be a landlord. Sometime I feel that government is trying to drive out small landlords.
    If government genuinely want to make think better as far as housing situation goes they need to get rid of all these silly things they come up with on the daily basis.

    • The dis-joint between salary and house prices is unacceprable. Most young families stand no chance of being able to buy a home at the current rate. Cool the PRS andthe house prices may start coming down.

      Politicians are not stupid, they know what needs to be done. Sadly we landlords are not going to be the flavour of the next few years unless and until house prices come down to a sensible level.

      Mr Ahmad from the British Landlord association made some valid pointsin his blog saturday on housing.

  2. How is it Government can possibly even consider scrapping S21 ,, it’s the only protection landlords have against unscrupulous tenants that don’t pay there rent .. If tenants don’t pay there rent ( and by the way why should they live for free). Then landlords can’t pay there morgages , then the whole market goes belly up ,can they not see that ?
    Property owners , the lifeblood of all society and aspiration. Must be protected by law against people who bleed the system dry .

  3. I had my deposit with my landlady in a proctor plan with tds a company but she sadly passed away and her husband won’t pay it me and tds can not claim it as he is refusing all contact with them and I have tried every way possible to claim it back but know one will help me

    • Easy file a money claim online against the estate of the landlady and tds won’t cost much . Those that are administering the landladies estate must by law deal with it, failure to deal it. If they refuse or have already administered the estate

  4. they want to get rid of section 21 so when you take a tenant for section 8 the lawyers can have a field day
    The tenants that deliberately confuse tenants or otherwsie distract are all wating on this judgement so they can then squat its all part of the NWO squatters and no landlords agenda

  5. I think the government wants to get rid of landlords, this way only the rich can buy houses to live in and the poor are on the pavement. This is why they are making it so difficult for landlords.

    Don’t the government realise that good landlords maintain theirs properties and keep the area looking good and also the safety of the tenants.
    Many tenants abuse the properties, any though from the government what they must do to stop this.

  6. my mums landlord , has been threatening her the last 3months , she is 78yo and is shielding she is in high risk of catching covid 19 , they keep phoning her txting her she has sight and hearing problems , her phone is for emergency and her life line to family and doctors , all they want is to do annual gas inspection ? they have been told time and time again after her shielding is over they can do it now she is more stressed than ever she also has heart problems can anyone help plz

    • The Landlord is in a difficult position as the law says they must do the annual gas inspection. The way around this is for your mother to put IN WRITING that she is shielding and will only allow the inspection to take place when it is safe for her to allow it. The Landlord needs tangible evidence that the inspection has been refused verbal communication is not sufficient for the Landlord to prove that they have tried to comply with the law.

  7. We have a tenant served S21 last year for poor cleanliness and won’t move out, with the courts stalled on actioning S8 possession we are stuck, they have been 2 to 3 months in arrears since November, my self employed work has dried up and we have expenses on the property and still have to maintain it, now the courts have been stalled another 3 months, since we served the original S21 he had been convicted of fly tipping and lost his job, all this in 2019 and still we are providing a property and maintaining it for free, where is this just or equitable?

  8. For all the buy to let landlords on here, you only have yourself to blame if you buy a house just to turn a profit at minimum investment from yourself!

    People like yourselves have caused the house prices to inflate massively by either fixing up a house you bought cheap and selling on for a massive profit or keeping hold of it for a slow rental income return.

    So there is little to no sympathy from everyone stuck renting due to being unable to find affordable housing thanks to greedy people.
    But then to bemoan the covid situation and expect people to continue paying rent, when they, just as you have lost their income source.
    But somehow you have a mortgage to pay means you deserve to be paid before they feed their families on universal credit of less than £1000 per month!

    What this country needs is a law which prevents anyone owning more than two houses.
    Then all of the sudden millions of homes would come onto the market and with lowered prices as a result, houses would once again become affordable for first time buyers.
    All commercial landlords should have to abide by government regulations and a rental rate that would be national and set by the government with small increases every three or five years for inflation.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here