Most residential landlords will no doubt be familiar with the process of retaking possession of a property subject to an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) by way of serving a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. There are a significant number of requirements that must be complied with to be able to serve a valid section 21 notice.

Arguably, one of the main requirements that must be fulfilled is ensuring that all the ‘prescribed information’ is provided to a tenant at the outset of their tenancy.

One piece of prescribed information that often causes issues when serving and then subsequently relying on section 21 notices during possession proceedings, is gas safety certificates.

While it has generally been the perceived position that failure to comply with the requirement to provide a valid gas safety certificate at the start and throughout an AST, would prevent a landlord from issuing possession proceedings under the ‘accelerated procedure’ (but still having the option to issue proceedings under the ‘standard procedure’), there‘s been a recent judgment that could have the impact of preventing the service of a section 21 notice in such circumstances all together. This could cause significant issues for Landlord’s who have been unable to comply with the requirements, for example, due to the tenant refusing access to the property.

The recent County Court decision of Blagg v Gharbi & Gharbi (Manchester County Court, 11 May 2023), although not binding, has been the first instance whereby a decision has been made as to the validity of, and ability to serve a section 21 notice where a landlord (among other things) has failed to provide a tenant with gas safety records following each annual check.  This decision could effectively prevent landlords from even serving a valid section 21 notice, not just prevent the use of the accelerated procedure to issue possession proceedings.

Therefore, it’s vital that landlords are aware of their obligations before, during and at the end of an AST to avoid such pitfalls, and to assist in the efficient management of their properties and business as is required.

No landlord wants to be prevented from retaking possession of a property and managing their assets and business as required which, could have significant consequences, financially and otherwise, due to a simple administration technicality.

If you would like to discuss any of the above, or require legal advice or representation in respect of any residential or commercial property dispute, please get in touch with our Dispute Resolution team here at BHW Solicitors on 0116 289 7000, or alternatively at

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