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Failure to Issue a Gas Safety Certificate prior to tenancy can prevent service of Section 21 Notice

2019 saw the difficult issue of gas certificates rear its head again, following the decision of His Honour Judge Carr in the recent case of Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield.

The Judgment comes hot off the heels of an earlier, controversial decision in Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Shooltz, where the Judge held that a landlord who had failed to issue a gas safety certificate to tenant prior to the start of the tenancy would never be able to serve a Section 21 Notice as a pre-cursor to commencing possession proceedings. As the Judge put it, the chance to ensure a gas certificate was provided before the commencement of the tenancy was a “once-and-for-all” opportunity, with any failure not being capable of rectification.

When a similar case therefore came before His Honour Judge Carr, any landlords hoping for a degree of flexibility were disappointed.

Expressly relying on the earlier decision in Caridon, the Judge commented that the purpose behind the landlord’s duty to provide a gas certificate prior to the start of the tenancy was clear – tenants need to be satisfied that the property in question is safe for use, with it rarely being a case that gas safety is something tenants have control over. On the contrary, that power falls squarely within the remit of a landlord. This decision is however being appealed and is likely to be heard before June 2020.

In the meantime, the reality is that any landlord who failed to provide the latest gas safety certificate to a tenant before the tenancy commenced, is likely to find that they have lost the power to ever serve a s.21 notice.

If you would like advice regarding any of the above, please contact the Dispute Resolution Team on 01204 377600 or email disputeresolution@afglaw.co.uk

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