What you need to do..
A case was heard in February which confirmed that a landlord who has not complied with their obligation to provide a gas safety certificate to a Tenant before the start of their residential tenancy cannot later terminate that tenancy by using a Section 21 notice, making this the second case to be decided this way.
Assured Shorthold tenancies (ASTs) can generally be terminated by either a Section 21 or a Section 8 notice. Being able to end a tenancy by way of a Section 21 notice is more beneficial to a Landlord as it requires no fault on the part of the Tenant, whereas a Section 8 requires some wrong-doing. If there has been no wrong-doing this can lead to a Landlord being unable to recover the property until such time that the actions of the Tenant allow them to do so.
So what do I need to do?
To ensure that as a Landlord you are not barred from using a Section 21 notice to terminate a tenancy should you choose to do so, you need to comply with The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 ('the Regulations') and provide a copy of the latest gas safety certificate to an incoming Tenant "before that Tenant occupies the premises". This means that if you provide the certificate after the tenancy has started, you are too late. The Courts have now held on two occasions that an initial failure to provide the certificate before the beginning of the tenancy was not a breach that could be remedied. This is thought to be a decision based on the view that the Regulations were put in place to make sure that properties were safe, and that the tenant was assured of this, before moving in.
You also need to provide existing tenants with a copy of the gas safety certificate that is produced after each annual check in the years following within 28 days of the annual check taking place.
At Gepp Solicitors we are well equipped to assist both Landlords and Tenants in all issues relating to tenancies. If you require assistance at any point before, during or after the life-time of a lease, do not hesitate to get in touch with our Commercial Property or Dispute Resolution teams who will be pleased to help.
For further information please contact Michael Callaghan, Partner, Dispute Resolution on 01245 228136 or Callaghanm@gepp.co.uk