Following the grant of permission to appeal in June, the Court of Appeal hearing in the case of Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield (B5/2019/0499) has now been set for January 2020. The court has given the appeal a floating date over 28-29 January 2020.
This case is important because it concerns the issue of whether a landlord who has failed to give a tenant a gas safety certificate before the tenant moves into the property can remedy this later by providing the gas safety certificate before serving a section 21 notice. I have previously written about the background to the case and appeal here: Court of Appeal grants landlord permission to appeal in section 21 notice gas safety case.
Recent county court decisions have seen judges apply the law relating to gas safety certificates and section 21 notices strictly. In Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Schooltz, the circuit judge, HHJ Luba QC, held that a landlord’s failure to provide the gas safety certificate before the tenant occupied the property was a breach that could not be rectified later and, as a result, the landlord was prevented from using the section 21 procedure to regain possession. This decision was followed closely by HHJ Carr in the Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield county court appeal.
The Court of Appeal will now need to consider the correct interpretation of the legislation specifically s21A Housing Act 1988 and the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015. These are the provisions that were brought into force by the Deregulation Act 2015 that made substantial changes to the section 21 procedure in England including linking section 21 to a landlord’s gas safety obligations.
Among the issues that the Court will need to determine is whether HHJ Carr’s interpretation of the provisions amounts to a breach of a landlord’s right to peaceful enjoyment of his property contrary to Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights. We understand this is the first case where a senior court will consider the human rights implications of the regulations and how they have been interpreted. The decision is therefore likely to have significant consequences for landlords, tenants and judges who have been grappling with these issues in the county courts.