Savannah Bullen-Manson acted for the landlord in an appeal concerning whether failure to obtain a gas safety certificate (or ‘record’ in the words of the legislation) before the tenant moves into a property prevents the landlord from using section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 to end an assured shorthold tenancy.
The tenant moved into the property in Hertford in August 2019. Before the start of the tenancy, he signed a checklist which stated that he had received a gas safety record. There is a dispute about whether he actually received the certificate.
The tenant was served a gas safety certificate dated September 2019 in November 2019. In October 2020, a further gas safety record was obtained and sent to the tenant.
The landlord then served a section 21 notice seeking possession on 7 November 2020.
At first instance, the District Judge relied on the Court of Appeal’s decision in Trecarrell House Ltd v Rouncefield  HLR 39, and made a possession order on the basis that any breach had been remedied by service of a gas safety record in November 2019.
On appeal, HHJ Bloom, sitting in the County Court at Luton:
- found that the present circumstances could be distinguished from the facts in Trecarrell House
- found that failure to obtain a gas safety certificate before the tenancy started could not be remedied by service of a gas safety certificate produced after the tenancy commenced
- found accordingly that if a landlord did not obtain a pre-tenancy gas safety record they are forever barred from serving a s.21 notice to end the tenancy
- allowed the tenant’s appeal, and
- ordered that the factual dispute about whether the tenant had received the gas safety certificate at the start of his tenancy be considered by a different District Judge.
Read the full judgment in Byrne v Harwood-Delgado.