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Landlords may not be able to evict if paperwork not in order

Please note that the information herein is of a general nature and you should not act or refrain from acting on it without professional advice on the specific facts of your case. No liability is accepted by the author or Sykes Anderson Perry Limited in respect of this article. Property law is a complex subject and the above is a basic outline only and is intended only as a general guide. Nothing herein constitutes legal advice.

If a landlord ever wishes to evict a tenant and regain possession of the rented property, they legally own, they simply have to serve what is known as a section 21 notice on the tenant currently residing in their property. Although a landlord does not need a reason for evicting a tenant, he or she must comply with certain provisions stipulated by law for a section 21 notice to be valid.

The recent decision in Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Shooltz has confirmed that landlords who do not supply a gas safety certificate to a tenant prior to their move-in date cannot rely on section 21 in order to bring the tenancy to an end and regain possession of their property. As a landlord, it is more important than ever to ensure you are legally compliant with all necessary paperwork before your tenant moves in. Failure to do so may result in landlords being unable to evict problematic tenant should that be the landlord’s wish.

This landmark decision by the courts shows their willingness to apply a strict interpretation of rental and Gas Safety Regulations which landlords must abide by. The real aim is to ensure that tenants can live in safe premises. However, imposing such onerous requirements on landlords was not Parliament’s intention when it passed this legislation. Unfortunately, for landlords, it takes time for defective legislation to be corrected – and especially at the moment as most of the Government’s time is being taken up with Brexit.

Only the best-behaved landlords will have the luxury of being able to use section 21, i.e. those that are diligent and ensure that all relevant safety certificates are valid and given to their tenant prior to their move-in date. However, it remains to be seen whether this stipulation on landlords will see them return to a much longer procedure do evicting tenants, known as serving a section 8 notice. This difference here is that the landlord may only use section 8 in certain circumstances, such as the tenant falling into a certain amount of rent arrears.

Anyone entering into a new tenancy agreement or renewing and agreement with an existing tenant should ensure that they or their letting agent provide an up to date Gas Safe Certificate to the tenant before the new agreement is entered into and to keep a clear record of this.

January 2019