This is a Joke – Judges rule EPC served?

by Readers Question

15:54 PM, 18th August 2020
About a month ago

This is a Joke – Judges rule EPC served?

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This is a Joke – Judges rule EPC served?

I have severed a section 21 on a tenant for a pre 2015 AST. The EPC was sent to the tenant 18 months prior but not signed for. However, the tenant denies receiving the EPC.

Two district Judges have independently determined on probability the EPC was severed and issued a possession order. The tenant’s solicitor has requested another appeal. This is a joke.

I thought there was a high court ruling that it can be simply corrected by serving before the section 21 in any event, but I can’t find anything on this.

Can anyone point me in the right direction, so we can stop arguing about semantics and get this done?

Many thanks

Michael


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Comments

Neil Patterson

16:15 PM, 18th August 2020
About a month ago

An EPC must be given to a tenant before a section 21 can be served, but it does not mean a section 21 can never be served if the EPC was not given before the tenant moved in.

From >> https://www.property118.com/what-does-the-deregulation-act-2015-mean-for-landlords/

1. Compliance with prescribed legal requirements

A Section 21 notice may not be given if the landlord is in breach of any legislation which relates to any of the below.

The condition of dwelling houses or their common parts
The health and safety of occupiers of dwelling-houses
The energy performance of dwelling-houses.

This means all landlords must provide tenants with an EPC and a Gas Safety Certificate before the tenancy begins. If at a later date the landlord wants to serve a Section 21 notice on a tenant, he will need to prove the tenant has been provided with these two documents. If they don’t do this then the landlord wont be able to use the section 21 notice.

David

10:03 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

Bollocks isn't it. The landlord has to do this and prove that. How about the tenant PROVING he didn't receive the EPC. 2 high court judges costing how much just to deal with this. Time to get out.

Jim Fox

10:14 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

I normally email all the prescribed documents to new tenants, prior to the new tenancy start date, and then get them to sign an acceptance document on entry, to say they've been received, and also that they were happy to receive electronic copies.

Old Mrs Landlord

10:42 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Jim Fox at 19/08/2020 - 10:14
Yes, but were you doing that before 2015? No many of us were gettng dated signatures for the documents we gave to tenants before the restrictions on service of S.21 were dreamed up, so would not be able to prove exactly what was given on a particular date where longstanding tenancies are concerned.

Jim Fox

10:58 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 19/08/2020 - 10:42
Nope, I only began using the signed 'declaration form' around 3/4 years ago, when more and more requirements were being heaped upon landlords.

Mark Leach

10:59 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

As soon as the requirement for the energy cert, gas certs and How to rent booklet came in I added these to our tenancy document and the new tenant now signs for receipt. I have also added the new requirement of Electric certs too. The way to go !!!

moneymanager

11:01 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

Just a suggested edit in the OP "severed" to "served", I thought something dramatic had occured.

Ann Shaw

11:14 AM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

Hi Michael, please don't worry, there was indeed a landmark case called Trecarrell - v - Rouncefield which ruled in the Landlord's favour. Therefore, providing you let your tenant have the EPC (take a witness and ask the witness to sign that they have witnessed you deliver the EPC either through their door or better still ask the tenant to sign for it, you will be able to serve a valid s21 once the courts allow this again from the 24th August 2020 (in England). https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Approved-judgment-Trecarrell-House-Ltd-v-Rouncefield-18-06-2020.pdf

Ann Shaw

12:38 PM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

It was Anthony Gold Solicitors who won the case. Although this was a case based on a Gas Safety Certificate, it will apply for an EPC also. I would have a chat with these Solicitors if you're still worried at all, but quote the ruling to your tenants. https://www.anthonygold.co.uk/latest/blog/court-of-appeal-rules-in-favour-of-landlord-in-section-21-notice-gas-safety-case/

Denise G

13:15 PM, 19th August 2020
About a month ago

I don't know if this is a possible solution to the issue of confirming that tenants have received what we send them: but it's what I have recently set up hoping I have it covered.
I created a Dropbox folder (I expect other services are available) for each property and then sent a 'View' link (so definitely not an 'Edit' link) to each tenant.
I am so far using the free version of Dropbox and will only consider upgrading to the paid service should I need to at some point in the future.
In each folder I put a copy of the Tenancy Agreement, the Inventory and Schedule of Condition as signed at tenancy commencement, all Gas Safety Certificates - so the one provided at tenancy commencement and each annual update thereafter, the EPC, the government's Right to Rent document, all Deposit Protection Service prescribed documents, the new EICR, a scan of my ICO license and any other communications that we've had around Landlord Inspections etc., plus a scan of the form all of our tenants are asked to sign each year agreeing that we've checked their fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as working - and confirming that they assume responsibility for their monthly check and ongoing maintenance.
I sent the link in an e-mail explaining what the Dropbox Folder is and what it will be used for going forward.
I reminded tenants that they have been given all of this information before, for them to file in the actual folder we give all new tenants at the start of their tenancies, but said I hoped this new way of keeping everything together would be easier and more convenient for us both.
This year as it's the first time I've tried this system, I also attached a copy of the newest GSC, completed last month (as socially distanced as possible) along with our latest Landlord Inspection Reports, plus the fire alarm forms as signed off by both us and the tenant, along with each property's newly completed EICR form to the e-mail.
I asked tenants to acknowledge receipt of the e-mail and to confirm that they were able to view their Dropbox folder.
I am pleased to report that they have all complied and have all also confirmed that they can access the folder … so I'm hoping I have this covered?
I will, going forward copy any new documents into the Folder and then e-mail the tenants to tell them (and I will probably continue to attach a copy of any new documents to the e-mail too, as a belt and braces effort to cover all bases).

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