A Supreme Court decision last month found in favour of landlords in a landmark case regarding the valid service of section 21 notices. The court also refused to grant permission for an appeal by the tenant in the case of Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield.

The case addressed whether a tenant could be evicted with a Section 21 notice if a gas safety certificate was served after the start of the tenancy.

In 2020, the lower Court of Appeal, ruled that service of a gas safety certificate after a tenancy has begun does not invalidate a Section 21 notice provided the gas safety certificate was provided to the tenant before the notice was served. The tenant tried to have this decision overturned in the Supreme Court.

Anthony Gold Solicitors, who acted for the landlord, stated “The Court’s decision will be welcomed by private sector landlords who feared that a failure to provide the gas safety certificate before occupation permanently prevented them from recovering possession of their properties.”

“It has been nearly two years since the Court of Appeal’s judgment and the Supreme Court’s decision to refuse to hear the tenant’s appeal now brings some certainty to this difficult area of law. “

“There is no requirement for the Supreme Court to explain its reasons, but it may be that the promised abolition of section 21 notices played some role in the court’s decision to refuse permission to appeal.”

The decision of the Supreme Court confirms the earlier interpretation of the law given by the Court of Appeal and is binding on District Judges who deal with possession claims. 

If a landlord does not provide a new tenant with a current gas safety certificate before the tenancy starts, they should still provide the certificate late to ensure a future section 21 is valid. Also, failing to complete an annual check on time during the tenancy but serving it late and before serving a Section 21 notice will ensure the eviction notice is valid. 

Anthony Gold Solicitors state that the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal did not directly address the situation where a landlord does not carry out a gas safety check at all before the tenant goes into occupation.