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New legal alert over strict rules regarding service S21 notices

A solicitors’ firm is warning that a County Court case could be used to allow more tenants to defend Section 21 possession proceedings.

Paula Haverkamp, a senior associate and litigation executive at Nelsons law firm, this week wrote on her company website about the recent case of Byrne v Harwood-Delgado, which highlights issues regarding landlord gas safety certificates for tenants who have been served a Section 21 Notice and face eviction.

In a previous case - Trecarrell House Limited v Patricia Rouncefield - the Court of Appeal decided that as long as the certificate was dated before the tenancy start date then it was not fatal to action a possession order. The Court held that, as long as the certificate was given to the tenant before Section 21 Notice was served, the landlord would be able to give a valid Section 21 Notice. 


However Judge H H J Bloom, in the recent Byrne v Harwood-Delgado case, found that under the Section 21 Notice could not end a tenancy if the landlord had not secured a relevant gas safety certificate prior to the tenancy starting and, in Haverkamp’s words, “the situation could not be resolved further down the line.”

Haverkamp writes: “Although this case is not binding as it is a County Court case, however, it is extremely persuasive and being applied by the Courts, it could provide more protection for tenants and improve their ability to be successful in defending Section 21 possession proceedings. Tenants may not need this type of protection if the plans to abolish No Fault Section 21 evictions are enforced, however, in the meantime, it’s certainly positive news for tenants as it gives them and their representatives extra defences against Section 21 possession proceedings.”

You can see Haverkamp’s full blog here.

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  • icon

    In the end, it won’t save them 🆘🤷‍♂️, only a government U turn on all the attacks can do that.

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    Section 21 Was introduced to be simple . To give Landlords confidence they could get there property back . Hence encouraging them to invest .
    Now its a merry go round of the landlord jumping through hoops, designed by the Government so it is takes as long and is as expensive as possible.

  • icon

    Just when you thought the activists/tenant support groups, et al, couldn't make life any worse for tenants, the media coverage this week proves me wrong.
    This faux outrage and the double downing on their narrative of screwing landlords.....or HOME PROVIDERS, as I call them, is creating 1000's more s21 notices being served this week.
    And when S21 is gone. So what. S8 action is fine by me, if required.
    Soon there will be no rental homes left to provide. Build to rent is 20 years away from satisfying demand.
    Still they can see no further than the end of their noses, driven by their feral hate and jealously. Narrow minded fools, the lot of them.


    They can defend a S8. To me that's not good enough with false claims of disrepair being made in court and too many other outs like breathing space.

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    If it's my property and I give notice. Then that's that. I don't care if I have a gas cert, EPC cert, licence etc. Since all these do-gooder and frankly counter-productive people think otherwise it's best I don't rent it at all. Looking at the RRB it's all too risky now.

  • icon
    • A JR
    • 14 February 2024 09:32 AM

    The multiple ‘tripwires’ introduced into Sec21 proceedings are a deliberate Gov ploy to delay or thwart evictions. Add to this, the now universal entitlement to legal aid in all eviction cases, moves us all ever closer to the ‘state sponsored sequestration’ of our hard won private property assets. Theft by any other name.
    Vote Reform, we know the others cannot be trusted.

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    So I’m confused - can we serve S21 or not? And how has a CC case not followed the ruling of the Supreme Court, which is binding?


    Exactly, James, a County Court is bound by the ruling of a Higher Court, in this case the Court of Appeal. You would have thought a solicitor would know that.

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    To avoid this nonsense. Just make sure there is a valid gas safety certificate before the tenant moves in, and at all times thereafter. Although I'd agree landlords should still be able to get their property back even if there are errors with paperwork. A friend of mine struggled to get rid of tenants who weren't paying the rent because the EPC had expired (they got help from shelter). Yes she should have noticed, but it was a genuine oversight, nothing had changed in the house, so it did not occur to her that a new EPC would be required regardless.

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    Surely an EPC does not have to be redone during the lifetime of a tenancy, providing nothing has been changed?


    An EPC doesn't need redoing officially but I’ve been advised to get it done regardless mid tenancy to avoid any confusion in court.


    It doesn’t 🫣 but the soon to be Labour government will add it in. They will add delay onto delay to stop us evicting.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    In the Treccarrell House case, there was a Gas cert in existence at start of Tenancy, it just wasn't served at the time.
    Trecarrell case affirmed that an existing cert, could be served after tenancy as long as before Sec 21.
    This angle is hitherto undecided - Appealed

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    Banning S21 does little more than push the can down the road for 6 months or so. There will simply be a pause in eviction stats for a time whilst landlords jump through the S8 hoops, but once the S8 evictions start coming out the other end we're going to be exactly the same place we were with S21 in terms of number. The likes of Shelter and all the other so-called tenant advocates think this is going to be a panacea and reduce eviction. I'd argue only a small number of evictions are genuine no-fault, which means the vast majority will be approved. End of the day, eviction numbers will be very similar, only rents will go up further to account for the increased cost and risk.

    Worse still for renters, at least with an S21 there is no CCJ. Given 54% of S21 notices are for rent arrears, most landlords going through the S8 process will also likely ask for a Money Order to be included in the action. Whilst an S8 possession order on it's own does not lead to a CCJ, as far as I know a Money Order does. So half of all evictions could result in a CCJ on the record of the tenant. Try and get another rental with that on your record!

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    I had Tenants come to me that had been evicted. I took them on at face value, before we were policemen, we nearly knew in an instant and they stayed 12 years until they bought their own, never caused me a problem but actually improved the place, always worked not on Benefit.
    I suspect a culture clash with previous landlord couldn’t get on. They bought us a nice tea & cutlery service leaving present and a thank you card.
    I was checking on one of my EPC’s and seen 14 others in the Road have expired if this is a requirement for Court there are thousands of them ?.
    It’s a Public Register.

  • Mick Roberts

    I'd say this is bad news for tenants. Helps the current tenant yes but ridiculous court rules like this only make more Landlords pack up, charge higher rents next time, and be more super vigilant on who they take. 50 people queuing for a house now will be 100 next year. Well done Courts and judges and renters groups. U making it much worse for waiting tenants.


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