Landlords and Eviction: no need for gas certificates?
13th October 2021 by Byron Sims
However, a recent case has confirmed that landlords may still be able to use the accelerated procedure under Section 21 (S21) of the Housing Act 1988 (HA 1988) to get a court order for possession, even if they have not complied with all of the rules, albeit in very specific circumstances!
What are the rules?
Many people will have heard about the “no fault” procedure under S21. This was designed to be a streamlined and simple procedure that a landlord could use to evict a tenant.
Over time, the procedure has developed and stronger protections have been put in place for tenants. Some of the important rules, which are common pitfalls for landlords and letting agents, involve an obligation to provide tenants with Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and Gas Safety Certificates (GSCs). Failing this, it was generally understood that the landlord would be prevented from using the S21 procedure at all.
At first, when the regulations were introduced in 2015, these rules only applied to new residential tenancies. From October 2018, however, it was understood that the rules applied to all residential tenancies, regardless of when they began.
What has changed?
The case of Minister v Hathaway and another  EWCA Civ 936 has now confirmed that ongoing tenancies which started before 1 October 2015, are not caught by the 2015 regulations. The landlord will, however, need to take into account any statutory periodic tenancy which may have started since the original tenancy finished, but after 1 October 2015.
Therefore, if a landlord seeks to evict a tenant who occupies a property under an older tenancy, the landlord is now able to give the tenant a valid S21 notice, whether or not an EPC or gas safety certificate were provided, or even existed, before the tenancy began. Further, this means that the landlord can use the accelerated procedure, subject to careful amendment of the claim form.
If you or your business needs any assistance navigating the fast changing process of recovering possession of residential property, please contact our team today and we will be happy to help.