New court ruling on repossessions welcomed by landlords

Clarity has been welcomed surrounding a case which tested the way Section 21 works with gas safety certificates after the Court of Appeal sided with private landlords.

The case of Trecarrell v Rouncefield:

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, however, has 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 crowdfunding 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.”

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