Housing Law – Gas Safety Certificates

The case of Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Shooltz has clarified the position regarding service of Gas Safety Certificates and the validity of Section 21 Notices, with regard to Tenancies started after the commencement of the Deregulation Act 2015, in October of that year.

It has been laid down that the Gas Safety Certificate must be served on incoming Tenants before the start of their Tenancy, lest the Section 21 Notice Seeking Possession be rendered invalid.

The statutory basis for the case above centred upon the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (“the Gas Safety Regulations”), and the scope of their application under the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 (“the 2015 Regulations”). The 2015 Regulations apply directly to Section 21 Notices issued under Section 21 (a) of the Housing Act 1988.

Regulation 36(6)(b) of the Gas Safety Regulations stipulates that the Certificate needs to be provided to a new Tenant before occupation of the Property. This is, in fact, a ‘prescribed requirement’ under the 2015 Regulations, in relation to Section 21 Notices. This means that a Landlord must comply with this requirement, otherwise the criteria for issuance of a valid Section 21 Notice Seeking Possession will not be met.

This issue can have huge repercussions for a Landlord. In his Judgment, HHJ Luba QC stated that compliance with the Gas Safety Regulations was a ‘once and for all’ matter. He stated that a Landlord must comply at the start of the Tenancy, otherwise there can be no Section 21 Notice issued at all during it. HHJ Luba QC’s words that there is “no sense in which it [a breach of the Regulations] can be rectified.

It is clear that this case will enter the common parlance of legal practitioners in the field, and so Landlords should expect Tenants to be made aware of the consequences of it, should they seek legal advice upon receipt of a Section 21 Notice.

Accordingly, the crux of this case is that Landlords have absolutely no option but to ensure that they provide their Tenants with a copy of the previous Gas Safety Record for the Property, before they sign the Tenancy Agreement and hand over the keys. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to dire problems for Landlords seeking to issue a Section 21 Notice upon their Tenants.