- May 16, 2022
- By Robin Stewart
- 0 comments
Supreme Court refuses further appeal in gas safety certificate case Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield
The Supreme Court has refused to grant permission to appeal to the tenant in the important section 21 notice case Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield.
In June 2020 the Court of Appeal ruled in a 2-to-1 majority decision that late service of a gas safety certificate does not prevent a landlord from serving a section 21 notice on their tenant, provided the certificate has been given to the tenant before service of the section 21 notice.
The tenant in Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield had sought to overturn the Court of Appeal’s decision in the Supreme Court. A panel from the Supreme Court consisting of Lord Briggs, Lord Stephens and Lady Rose have now rejected the tenant’s application on the basis that the application does not raise a point of general public importance.
Where does this leave landlords?
The Supreme Court’s decision means that the interpretation of the law accepted by Court of Appeal’s in June 2020 remains binding on District Judges hearing possession claims.
The Court of Appeal’s decision was greeted as a good outcome for landlords. It has meant that where a landlord has failed to provide a new tenant with the last gas safety certificate before occupation they are able to remedy this by providing the certificate late. That was a welcome relief to the many responsible landlords fearful that accidental mistakes in providing tenants with certificates could result in them permanently losing the ability to serve a section 21 notice.
Furthermore, a failure to complete a subsequent annual check on time will not bar the landlord from serving a section 21 notice provided the certificate is given to the tenant prior to serving the section 21 notice. Again, this will be reassuring to landlords particularly in present circumstances where arranging gas safety inspections has been a challenge.
The Court of Appeal’s decision, however, did not resolve all the issues that have arisen since gas safety was linked to the section 21 procedure in 2015. There are still difficult questions left unresolved. For example, what does this mean for a landlord who has failed to carry out a gas safety check at all before the tenant goes into occupation? Are they able to rectify this breach and serve a valid s21 notice? While the Court of Appeal determined that late provision of the initial gas safety certificate is remediable, they do not go so far as to say that all historic gas safety breaches, including failing to actually have a certificate before the commencement of the tenancy, are capable of remedy.
In addition, the gas safety regulations only require landlords to retain the gas safety certificate for two years from the date of the check which means even where a check has been carried out before the start of the tenancy, landlords may face difficulties remedying the breach later or proving that they have done so.
The Supreme Court’s refusal of a further appeal marks the end of one chapter of litigation concerning section 21 notice and gas safety certificates, but this issue is not going away for landlord and agents. It is almost certain that Trecarrell will not be the last of the cases on these issues because there is still significant uncertainty about how to interpret parts of the law concerning section 21 notices.
Anthony Gold Solicitors together with barristers Justin Bates and Brooke Lyne of Landmark Chambers acted for the landlord in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The landlord’s successful appeal to the Court of Appeal was supported by the National Residential Landlords Association.* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*
Add your comment
We need your name and email address to make sure you’re a real person. We won’t share your email address with anyone else or send you spam. Please complete fields marked with *.