Court boost for private rental sector after key S21 judgement

19 June 2020 | Renting

Court boost for private rental sector after key S21 judgement

Successes for the private rental sector may seem few and far between these days but the Court of Appeal has now given a legal boost following a key judgement on repossessions.

The case of Trecarrell v Rouncefield centred on the relationship between Section 21 notices and gas safety certificates.

The landlord, Trecarrell House Limited, was initially granted an order to repossess the property using S21 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, courts initially ruled that the S21 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 now 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.

The landlord’s case has been backed by trade bodies including the former Residential Landlords Association which argued that 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 crowd funding campaign set up by the RLA to raise money for the appeal raised more than £7,000.

Now John Stewart – deputy policy director of the new National Residential Landlords Association – says: “We welcome the clarity that [the] 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.”

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.