Trecarrel House Limited v Rouncefield

27th August 2019 By Arman Khosravi

Oliver Fisher instructed on Court of Appeal case

Oliver Fisher Solicitors are pleased to announce we have been instructed to act for Ms Rouncefield in the upcoming Court of Appeal case of Trecarrel House Limited v Rouncefield.

Ms Rouncefield entered into an Assured Shorthold Tenancy commencing and dated 20 February 2017. The appellant, Trecarrel House (“A”) provided Ms Rouncefield with a Gas Safety Record (“GSR”) on 9 November 2017 for a check carried out on 31 January 2017. A section 21 notice was served on Ms Rouncefield on 1 May 2018.

At the first instance hearing at Truro County Court Ms Rouncefield argued that the section 21 notice was invalid because the GSR had not been provided prior to the occupation of the premises. The appellant argued that because the GSR had been served prior to the section 21 notice, the notice was therefore valid. DDJ Rutherford held that there is no absolute time limit on the provision of the gas record for the purposes of Section 21 and therefore granted possession.

Ms Rouncefield appealed this decision and HHJ Carr allowed the appeal because the GSR had neither been given to Ms Rouncefield, in line with regulation 36(6)(b) Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, nor had it been displayed in a prominent position, as per regulation 36(7) of the 1998 regulation.

HHJ Carr held that regulations 36(6)(b) and 36(7) both required compliance before the tenant begins to occupy. In part the rationale for this was that a “tenant moving into new premises needs to be sure that the gas supply into the premises is safe and properly maintained” because the “danger to life and limb of poorly-installed gas systems are all too well-known.”

The issues before the court is whether a section 21 notice can be valid if a gas safety record was not given to the tenant prior to occupation of the premises, but was provided prior to service of the notice. This is an important point of law which will ultimately affect the future of possession proceedings in the private rented sector.

Arfan Bhatti, Solicitor comments:

We are pleased to be instructed on this matter. The underlying gas safety obligations on Landlords is a matter of great importance and whether Tenant should have a copy of the Gas Safety Record before moving in should be a key consideration for new tenants.

The hearing is scheduled to take place on either 28 or 29 January 2020.

Arfan Bhatti, Avikar Singh and Billy Clerkin of Oliver Fisher Solicitors are acting for Ms Rouncefield with Richard Cherry of 1 Chancery Lane instructed as counsel.

By Billy Clerkin.

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