A landmark evictions court case that could have significant consequences for letting agents and landlords has been given the go-ahead by a judge.
The case concerns a landlord who failed to issue a gas safety certificate to a tenant who it later tried to evict by issuing a certificate belatedly and then starting a Section 21 eviction process.
The landlord won the initial hearing for repossession, but the tenant then appealed the decision and won. The landlord has now won the right to an appeal, which will be heard later this year.
This case concerns an AST that started in February 2017 for a flat in a development in Truro, Cornwall where the hot water and heating is provided by a communal boiler outside the property.
Therefore, no gas certificate had ever been issued to tenants despite – somewhat perversely given the property’s heating system – it being a legal requirement.
Despite the technicalities of the case, what the Court of Appeal judge will now decide is whether it is acceptable for a landlord or letting agent to issue a gas safety certificate after – rather than before – a tenant moves into a property and still be able to evict them via a Section 21 notice.
If the tenant involved – Patricia Rouncefield – wins then the practical effect will be that letting agents may no longer have to issue gas safety certificates to tenants.
“The court’s role in this case is limited to deciding how the current rules surrounding section 21 notices should be interpreted and political questions about whether section 21 should be abolished or reformed will not be directly addressed by the Court of Appeal,” says lawyer Sarah Cummins of legal firm Anthony Gold, which his representing the landlord in the case, Trecarrell House Limited.
Read more about gas safety regulations.