Warning over problems regarding the Section 21 notice

The recent case of Byrne v Harwood-Delgado (see the Nearly Legal comment) has raised important implications for tenants facing Section 21 possession proceedings, particularly concerning landlord gas safety certificates. Paula Haverkamp, a senior associate and litigation executive at Nelsons law firm, highlighted this case and its potential impact on tenants’ ability to defend against eviction.

In the Trecarrell House Limited v Patricia Rouncefield case, the Court of Appeal had ruled that as long as the gas safety certificate was dated before the start of the tenancy, it did not invalidate a Section 21 Notice. However, Judge H H J Bloom’s decision in the Byrne v Harwood-Delgado case diverged from this precedent. He determined that if the landlord had not obtained a relevant gas safety certificate before the tenancy began, then the Section 21 Notice could not terminate the tenancy, creating an unresolved issue.

Although the Byrne v Harwood-Delgado case is not legally binding as it originated in a County Court, its persuasive impact is noteworthy. Haverkamp suggests that if this interpretation becomes widely applied by the courts, it could offer tenants additional defenses against Section 21 possession proceedings, potentially improving their ability to challenge evictions.

While the eventual abolition of No Fault Section 21 evictions may alleviate some concerns for tenants, Haverkamp sees the ruling in Byrne v Harwood-Delgado as a positive development in the interim. It provides tenants and their representatives with additional legal arguments to counter Section 21 eviction attempts.

In summary, the Byrne v Harwood-Delgado case underscores the importance of gas safety certificates in Section 21 possession proceedings and may strengthen tenants’ legal defenses in such cases, pending wider adoption by the courts.

You can see Haverkamp’s full blog here.

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