20/03/2019
There is to be a legal challenge taken to the Court of Appeal by a landlord denied possession of their property because they had not served a gas safety certificate until after the tenancy started.

The landlord had initially been granted an order to possess the property using Section 21, but the tenant successfully appealed on the grounds that they were not provided with a gas safety certificate before moving in.

Although the certificate was later served by the landlord, the court said that the landlord’s Section 21 powers were invalid due to late serving of the gas safety certificate.

The court case, Trecarrel House Ltd v Rouncefield, was heard at Exeter County Court last month, where the landlord was granted the order, before the tenant successfully appealed, which has led to the legal challenge.

Until a recent similar case, Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Shoolt, was heard at a county court, landlords and agents who had failed to issue a gas safety certificate at the prescribed time, could do so later on before serving a Section 21 notice.

However, despite county court not establishing precedent in law, the judge of the earlier case, Jan Luba, is a recognised authority on housing law, and has co-written a book, Defending Possession Proceedings, which district judges use when deciding how to apply the law.

With the legal challenge now going to the Court of Appeal it is likely that the decision there will set precedent in law.

The Residential Landlords Association is supporting the landlord, Trecarrell House, in the legal challenge.

David Smith, lawyer and policy director of the RLA, said of the forthcoming legal challenge: ‘Protecting the rights of landlords to repossess properties in legitimate circumstances is key to providing the confidence the sector needs to offer longer tenancies.’

He continued: ‘The landlord in this case was not seeking to shirk their responsibilities and provided the certificates that were needed. We will fight to ensure that if nothing else, logic prevails.’