Landlords should now be familiar with the prescribed legal requirements introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015 that must be provided before they are able to serve a Section 21 Notice. These are namely
– The requirement to provide the ‘How to Rent Guide’
-The requirement to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) to a tenant free of charge;
-The requirement to provide a tenant with a gas safety record.
Landlords should be aware that the three-year transition period is due to end in October 2018 and therefore may affect tenancies granted before 1 October 2015.
Since the introduction of these requirements, there has been question’s about whether a failure to provide a gas safety certificate at the beginning of a tenancy can be rescued by a later certificate. Recent case law has held that it cannot (however there is debate whether this approach is a true reflection of the legal position, see here.
Therefore, it may be that if there is a failure to provide the gas safety record to any new tenant before that tenant occupies the property then this could be an absolute bar on serving a Section 21 Notice. In these circumstances, the landlord would need to rely on one of the grounds for serving a section 8 notice such as rent arrears.
The message to Landlords is clear, fail to comply with the prescribed requirements at your peril as it may leave you with no route to regain possession of your property unless the tenant has broken the terms of their agreement.
For further information, guidance or advice contact Ashley Byrne of The Law Practice Landlord and Tenant team on 0121 778 2371 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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