Common sense or letter of the law.
Once again it seems private landlords must ensure the letter of the law is followed to ensure any tenant eviction process goes as smoothly as possible. We raised the issue of some confusion with the new gas certificates last year and mentioned it would probably take a court case to clarify matters.
Due to the confusing over the legislation and to hopefully set a president for future cases, landlords are being asked to provide financial support to a fellow landlord with their legal court case. The court case is based around a section 21 tenant eviction and confusion around gaining entry to a buy to let property to issue a gas certificate. It appears that proof and timing are the issue of contention.
The landlord initially successfully applied for a repossession order using section 21. However, the tenant appealed, claiming that they were not provided with a gas safety certificate prior to moving in with the appeal being upheld.
The court denied the landlord Section 21 powers as the gas safety certificate was made available shortly after the tenancy had started. From my understanding of the legislation a landlord must supply a copy of a currant gas cert at the beginning of the tenancy. As I have mentioned numerous times, as a landlord you need to ensure evidence that your tenant has received all this paperwork.
However, if a tenant deliberately delays a gas check or any sort of repair and you can evidence this, this should not impact on and evictions via a section 21.
This was confirmed by the judge in the appeal, stating that the gas safety certificate was not issued to the tenant upon occupation, thus removing the effectiveness of a Section 21 notice.
Our lobbying body the RLA is supporting the landlord with their appeal, claiming that as the gas safety certificate is provided before the Section 21 notice is served, then it is valid.
What are your thoughts do you agree with the Judge or the RLA? If you want to aid the landlord and the RLA with their appeal, you can contribute via a crowd justice page. clicking here.
Will the appeal work? Even if the landlord made an honest mistake and was not trying to shirk their responsibilities, will the appeal judge see just the letter of the law?