Landlords have been given some good news today after the Supreme Court refused a further appeal in the landmark gas safety certificate Section 21 eviction case.

Known as the Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield case, it centred on whether a tenant can be evicted via a Section 21 notice if a gas safety certificate had been served after the tenancy has begun.

In June 2020 the Court of Appeal ruled in a 2-to-1 majority decision that late service of a gas safety certificate does not prevent a landlord from serving a section 21 notice on their tenant, provided the certificate has been given to the tenant before service of the section 21 notice.

The tenant in the Trecarrell v Rouncefield case had sought to overturn the Court of Appeal’s decision in the Supreme Court.

A panel from the Supreme Court consisting of Lord Briggs, Lord Stephens and Lady Rose have now rejected the tenant’s application on the basis that the application does not raise a point of general public importance.

The panel made the decision on the basis of written submissions from both parties’ lawyers, according to legal firm Anthony Gold, which acted for the landlord together with barristers Justin Bates and Brooke Lyne of Landmark Chambers.

NRLA support

The landlord’s successful appeal to the Court of Appeal was supported by the National Residential Landlords Association.

sarah cummins gas safety

“The Court’s decision will be welcomed by private sector landlords who feared that a failure to provide the gas safety certificate before occupation permanently prevented them from recovering possession of their properties,” says senior associate solicitor at Anthony Gold, Sarah Cummins (pictured).

“It has been nearly two years since the Court of Appeal’s judgment and the Supreme Court’s decision to refuse to hear the tenant’s appeal now brings some certainty to this difficult area of law.

“There is no requirement for the Supreme Court to explain its reasons, but it may be that the promised abolition of section 21 notices played some role in the court’s decision to refuse permission to appeal.”

Main Pic: Trecarrel House in St Ives, Cornwall, the property involved in the case.

3 COMMENTS

  1. It must be good practice to ensure a Gas Cert is issued in a timely fashion.

    I suggest following the deposit regulations.
    30 days to issue a Gas Cert from date of tenancy commencement.

    It is possible for a Gas Cert to be issued 1 month ahead of expiry of the existing Gas Cert.

    It cannot be fair to effectively only need to issue a Gas Cert before a S21 issue.

    Adopting a 30 day issue period would be reasonable if not done before the existing Gas Cert expires.

    No tenant should ever be in a position where they have been without a Gas Cert longer than 30 days after the tenancy has commenced whether or not occupation has started.

    I believe the same should be for all other things such as EICR.

    LL should have no more than 30 days from tenancy provision to supply all relevant certs etc.

    • The Gas Safety Regulations require the service of the certificate before the tenant moves in and have done so since 1998. There is no reason to serve this after the tenant has moved in as you must have the check done before the tenant moves in. This is the same for the electrical safety certificate. You already need to provide other paperwork before the tenant moves in so why do you need extra time to provide this important document?

      You can be prosecuted under the Gas Safety Regulations or the Electrical Safety Standards Regulations for not providing either of the certificates.

      A CP12 can be issued TWO months before the current one epires and treated as being issued on the expiry date.

  2. It is reasonable that landlords should be expected to check gas services are safe. As I see it, this is the crux of the matter. A certificate confirms this has been done, but the absence of one doesn’t necessarily mean it hasn’t. Not sharing the certificate due to a clerical error should be a very minor infringement. Not sharing one because you haven’t checked the gas services is a lot bigger an issue. Furthermore, missing the annual deadline by a few days for logistical reasons should be a lot less of an issue than not doing it at all. As for S21, I am struggling to see the logical linkage to whether or not the gas has been checked. It seems to me like a totally separate issue, so on this rare occasion, the legal system just about got it right in the end.

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