Residential Landlords - Provide a Gas Safety Certificate on time or lose the right to no fault eviction
Posted on 17 May 2019 by Sasha Loveridge
Since the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force, landlords are under an obligation to provide their tenants with copies of various documents at the outset of a tenancy, including the most recent gas safety certificate.
Two recent cases have confirmed that if a landlord fails to provide the gas safety certificate under The Gas Safety (Insulation and Use) Regulations 1988 ("the 1988 Regulations"), they cannot then rely on a Section 21 Notice to terminate the tenancy agreement, even if the certificate is providing during the tenancy.
In February 2018, a case concerning S.36(6) of the 1988 Regulations, Caridon Property Limited v Shooltz (“Caridon”), the Court ruled that the landlord was unable to serve a valid Section 21 Notice and regain possession as he had not provided the tenant with a copy of the certificate before the tenant occupied the property and he could not remedy this breach by providing a copy during the tenancy. This applies to all tenancies which were started or renewed after 1 October 2015.
In February 2019, in the case of Trecarrel House Limited v Rouncefield, the Court came to the same conclusion as in Caridon with regard to S.36(7) of the 1988 Regulations, the failure to supply or display the current gas certificate record in the property concerning a gas appliance present outside of the property but servicing the same, before occupation of the property cannot be remedied and Section 21 will be unavailable to the landlord if such a breach has occurred. The Judge based his reasoning inter alia on the fact that tenants need to be able to ensure the property is safe before they move in as gas can be extremely dangerous and that the 1988 Regulations had been amended in 2018, if there was any unfairness, there had been opportunity to amend the 1988 Regulations but this did not happen.
It is unlikely that the government will legislate to change these decisions and unless a landlord is prepared to risk the costs of challenging these two recent decisions it is likely that future cases will be decided in the same way as these two cases, or that any potential appeals will approve the decisions.
These two recent cases are prime examples of why landlords should ensure the relevant documentation is served on the tenants before the tenancy commences.
Posted in: Lettings/Landlord & Tenant