Revisiting Gas Safety Requirement

Revisiting Gas Safety Requirement

Dean Byrne v Thomas John Harwood-Delgado [2022]

Background

The recent case, Byrne v Harwood-Delgado 2022 highlights issues regarding landlord gas safety certificates for tenants who have been served a Section 21 Notice and face eviction.

According to Section 21A of the Housing Act 1988, which came into power as part of the Deregulation Act 2015, if landlords want to evict their tenant under a Section 21 notice then they must abide by further requirements. One example is they have to provide the tenant with a gas safety certificate prior to the start of the tenancy, where relevant.

In a previous case, Trecarrell House Limited v Patricia Rouncefield, the Court of Appeal decided that as long as the certificate was dated before the tenancy start date then it was not fatal to action a possession order. The Court held that, as long as the certificate was given to the tenant before Section 21 Notice was served, the landlord would be able to give a valid Section 21 Notice. For further details of the case, see our previous blog here.

This case benefited landlords who had not initially complied with the requirements to remedy the breach as they would be able to issue a valid Section 21 Notice without the tenant raising a defence in relation to the gas safety certificate.

The Judge, HHJ Bloom, in the recent County Court appeal case, Byrne v Harwood-Delgado found that under the Housing Act 1988 a Section 21 Notice was not available to use as a way of ending a tenancy if the landlord had not gotten a relevant gas safety certificate prior to when the tenancy started, and that the situation could not be resolved further down the line.

In the above case, the landlord had not obtained a gas safety certificate at the start of the tenancy, but it was provided to the tenant after six months. HHJ Bloom said that this case was different from Trecarrell House as there had been an obvious failure on the landlord’s part.

HHJ Bloom also stated that the landlord’s failure to sort a gas safety certificate prior to the tenancy could not be remedied by the service of a certificate after the tenancy had started.

Comment

Although, this case is not binding as it is a County Court case, however, it is extremely persuasive and being applied by the Courts, it could provide more protection for tenants and improve their ability to be successful in defending Section 21 possession proceedings.

Tenants may not need this type of protection if the plans to abolish No Fault Section 21 evictions are enforced, however, in the meantime, it’s certainly positive news for tenants as it gives them and their representatives extra defences against Section 21 possession proceedings.

How can we help?Revisiting Gas Safety Requirement

Paula Haverkamp is a Senior Associate and Litigation Executive in our Dispute Resolution team, specialising in landlord and tenant matters and property disputes.

For further information in relation to the subjects discussed in this article, please contact Paula or another member of our team in Derby, Leicester, or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online form.

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