16:38 PM, 15th May 2019, About 3 years ago 10
Many of you will be aware of the Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Shooltz case. In short, the landlord, Caridon Property, failed to obtain a possession order based on their Section 21 notice, because His Honour Judge Jan Luba QC ruled that that the requirements of the Deregulation Act 2015 meant their failure to issue a gas safety certificate before the tenancy began invalidated the subsequent Section 21 notice for repossession.
From our perspective at Caridion Landlord Solutions, we fully recognise the vital importance of ensuring landlords have an up to date Gas Safety Certificate. However, the fact that there is nothing landlords can do to resurrect this issue if they failed to provide a gas safety certificate before the tenancy commenced, even if they provided it since, seems a little austere. In addition, what has not been widely reported in the Monty Shooltz case is that the dwelling itself did not have any gas appliances, these were only in the communal areas therefore we feel the ruling was misplaced and misguided.
Although the case was a County Court ruling, not a Court of Appeal ruling, it was heard before a Circuit Judge. Since the only place that Circuit Judges sit in London is at the Central London Country Court, the London Courts have decided that this ruling is binding in all London Courts, and now appears to have set a precedence for courts nationwide, meaning many more landlords will be trapped by this ruling. The strict judicial interpretation of the legislation, which could prevent thousands of landlords serving a Section 21 notice because of an unwitting administration error, traps them in a position they simply cannot rectify.
We had been liaising with the National Landlords Association (NLA) and Landlord Action who, like us, wanted to call on the Government to reconsider addressing the Monty Shooltz ruling. However, of course the industry recently learnt that there is a possibility that Section 21 notices will be scrapped altogether in the not too distant future, turning this issue on its head entirely.
We spoke to Barrister Sena Frimpong at Holborn Chambers who agrees that the outcome of this ruling cannot have been Parliament’s intention when the legislation of Gas Safety was brought in. Two interesting points he made were: –
For now, we await the possible abolition of Section 21 and/or subsequent changes to Section 8, but we would urge the government to address important issues such as this, not only to enable fairness in the Private Rented Sector, but for common sense.
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