A recent county court appeal case has shown how vitally important it is for landlords to make absolutely sure they give their tenants a gas safety certificate before they hand over the keys.
In the case of Caridon Property v Monty Shooltz (2018), the landlord was refused a section 21 possession order to evict tenants on the grounds it was invalid because the gas safety certificate was served 11 months after they moved in.
This should send alarm bells ringing as many landlords, as in this case, rely on the fact that a gas safety certificate served late will rectify a situation and thus allow a section 21 possession order to flow smoothly on.
What the law says
Under the Deregulation Act 2015, which applies only in England, all landlords of shorthold tenancies need to serve a gas safety certificate on their tenants before the tenancy begins.
If a landlord wants to evict the tenants using a section 21 notice, and this hasn’t been done, it will be deemed invalid and fail.
And although Caridon Property v Monty Shooltz is only a county court decision, and therefore technically not binding on courts outside London, it is expected to have ramifications across the country.
At the moment, the Deregulation Act 2015 applies to all tenancies which were started or renewed on or after 1 October 2015.
But after 1 October 2018, it will apply to all assured shorthold tenancies.
In addition, from this time, landlords also need to provide tenants with an energy performance certificate (EPC) free of charge. This, along with the gas safety certificate, is a prescribed requirement without which neither a section 21(1) or 21(4) notice may be given in relation to a dwelling house in England.
What should landlords do?
It is crucial to make sure that the gas safety certificate and EPC are served before tenants are given the keys to the property in question.
In addition, landlords need to:
For legal help and advice on landlord and tenant disputes please contact James Murray.