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Court boost for private rental sector after key S21 judgement

Successes for the private rental sector may seem few and far between these days but the Court of Appeal has now given a legal boost following a key judgement on repossessions.

The case of Trecarrell v Rouncefield centred on the relationship between Section 21 notices and gas safety certificates.

The landlord, Trecarrell House Limited, was initially granted an order to repossess the property using S21 powers; however the tenant successfully appealed on the grounds that they were not provided with a gas safety certificate prior to moving in.


Despite the landlord making the certificate available after the tenancy had begun, courts initially ruled that the S21 notice was invalid, referring to a previous similar case in which the certificate was made available less than two weeks after the tenant moved in.

The Court of Appeal however has now ruled that Section 21 notices are valid provided a Gas Safety Certificate is issued before the notice is given to the tenant, not before a tenant moves into a property.

The landlord’s case has been backed by trade bodies including the former Residential Landlords Association which argued that the situation could have breached a landlord’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights on the basis that it deprives them of their possession. 

A crowd funding campaign set up by the RLA to raise money for the appeal raised more than £7,000.

Now John Stewart - deputy policy director of the new National Residential Landlords Association - says: “We welcome the clarity that [the] ruling brings for the sector. Going forward however, ministers remain committed to eventually getting rid of Section 21 altogether.

“We have been campaigning to ensure that such moves are only made within the context of improvements to the way courts handle cases and clear, comprehensive and timely routes for landlords to repossess properties in legitimate circumstances.

“We are heartened therefore that the housing minister has made clear that such changes will only be made ‘in a considered manner’ and not as an immediate response to the Coronavirus pandemic.”

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    I note that the NRLA comment that, “Ministers remain committed to eventually getting rid of Section 21 altogether” and their wishy-washy response. Hardly fills me with hope so I think it will be SELL, SELL, SELL.

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    • 19 June 2020 10:14 AM

    It would be useful for Govt to declare how the S8 process would be adjusted in the event of S21 going.

    Or as I suspect nothing will change such that it will take an average of a year to evict.

    A crucial aspect is what will replace the AST?

    A time limited TA with the ability to ultimately evict after relevant NTQ has always been the bedrock of BTL for LL since 1996.

    If S8 remains as it is this will be a very weak process.
    Coincidentally it will also result in EVERY rent defaulting tenant ending up with a CCJ whereas the S21 process doesn't currently result in this DEFINITELY occurring.

    Hands up how many LL would take on a rent defaulting tenant with an active CCJ for rent arrears!!?

    Removing the S21 process will be nightmarish for LL and tenants alike.

    A CCJ will prevent normal credit activity for 6 years at most and even more if the LL renews it.
    I simply don't believe a revised S8 process will meet the requirements of LL.
    I hope to have exited the PRS BEFORE S21 is abolished.
    This CV19 issue has very annoyingly delayed my departure.

    I'm stuck now being a LL for more years than I wished.

    I simply do not believe a revised S8 process will be fit for purpose.
    S21 to my mind actually works quite effectively.
    It is just the County Court delays which make eviction so protracted.

    I simply can't imagine an allegedly to be revised S8 process being as effective as S21.

    If it was then not really much point in abolishing the AST and S21!!!!!!!!!

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    There isn't total clarity, for example, if there was NO gas certificate in pace Before the tenancy began, - neither the Monty Shultz or this Trecarrell case clarifies if a Sec 21 can ever be served.
    Somebody should take the ' Daftsman ' who wrote the DeReg Act to task !


    The Government (in office but not in power) could easily rectify this by Statutory Instrument. Whether they have the will to do so is another matter entirely.


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