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New campaign to protect repossession rights for landlords

Tuesday 19 March 2019

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has launched a new campaign after a recent court case in which a landlord’s bid to regain their property was rejected due to a gas safety certificate dispute.

The landlord, Trecarrell House Limited, granted an order to repossess the property using Section 21 powers, but the tenant successfully appealed because they were not provided with a gas safety certificate prior to moving in.

The court that the Section 21 issued was invalid, despite the fact the landlord made the certificate available once the tenancy had started.

The judge in the appeal made reference to a previous similar case in which the certificate was made available less than two weeks after the tenant moved in.

The judge said that if the gas safety certificate was not served on the tenant before they took up occupation then a Section 21 notice could not be relied on to regain possession, and the situation could not be resolved by serving one after the moving in date.

The Court of Appeal will now consider Trecarrell House Limited’s case, with the landlord arguing that so long as the gas safety certificate is provided before the Section 21 notice is served, then it is valid.

The landlord believes that the case could breach a landlord’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights on the basis that it deprives them of their possession.

Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights provides states: “Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law. The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “Protecting the rights of landlords to repossess properties in legitimate circumstances is key to providing the confidence the sector needs to offer longer tenancies.

“The landlord in this case was not seeking to shirk their responsibilities and provided the certificates that were needed.

“We will fight to ensure that if nothing else, logic prevails.”

 

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