Court of Appeal rules in favour of Landlords and Agents in precedent setting eviction case

Court of Appeal rules in favour of Landlords and Agents in precedent setting eviction case

9:57 AM, 27th January 2022, About 4 months ago 6

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The Court of Appeal in the case of NORTHWOOD (SOLIHULL) LIMITED and VICKY COOKE has found in favour of the Landlord and Agent: Click here to read the full judgement.

The Solihull branch of agency chain Northwood tried to evict a couple who stopped paying their rent in 2019 using section 8.

The tenants Mr Fearn and Ms Cooke argued the section 8 was invalid because under section 44 of the Companies Act 2006 the eviction notice and the deposit certificate had not been signed by two authorised signatories or by a company director in the presence of a witness.

The High Court judges ruled this was not required for eviction notices and means that a single authorised employee of a landlord or letting agent can sign a section 8 notice or section 21 notice or a tenancy deposit certificate without invalidating an eviction on a technicality.

David Smith of JMW Solicitors, who represented the landlord, said: “This case continues the clear line from the Court of Appeal that technical defences to section 8 and 21 notices are not likely to work”

Legal Associate Director of Hamilton Fraser, which is the company of Mydeposits, Tim Frome, said: “This decision will come as a relief to millions of landlords and their letting agents, and I am pleased that the Lord Justices have taken a common-sense approach to the signing of deposit protection prescribed information and possession notices.

“Having written the Mydeposits scheme rules back in 2006 and studied the legislation in great detail it was never the intention of parliament for the deposit protection legislation to create technical reasons to penalise landlords. It is a practical impossibility for larger corporate landlords or agents to comply with Companies Act signing requirements on prescribed information.”

“Having an authorised person doing it on their behalf means that deposit protection can be administered simply and quickly meaning that tenants can then benefit from the knowledge their deposit is protected and using the scheme’s alternative dispute resolution service if required at the end of the tenancy.

“Mydeposits has now dealt with over 100,000 tenancy deposit disputes since being set up meaning tenants get their money back when they are entitled to it and keeping those disputes out of the courts.”



Comments

by Ian Narbeth

10:48 AM, 27th January 2022, About 4 months ago

This will come as a relief to landlords. I know of at least one landlord who had a s21 notice thrown out on this technicality where his tenant owed over six months' rent..

Landlords have also been effectively blackmailed by defaulting tenants into paying two times the deposit on the basis that the landlord could be fined even more.

"In all that excitement, I don't know whether you will be fined one times or three times the deposit. So, you've got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" (apologies to Dirty Harry).

Any landlords who were caught out by this and penalised by the judge (as opposed to settling out of court) may have grounds for appeal.

by Binks

11:23 AM, 27th January 2022, About 4 months ago

Good result, but can’t believe this had to go to appeal and wasn’t ruled on properly in the first place.
Thankfully we had a reasonable judge when we had to use Section 8, but it was stressful (and expensive) enough nevertheless.

by budd

11:39 AM, 27th January 2022, About 4 months ago

Judge may be a landlord as well

by Ian Narbeth

11:56 AM, 27th January 2022, About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 27/01/2022 - 11:39
That should not affect a judge's decision. The Court of Appeal in this case consisted of Lewison, Newey and Snowden LJJ.

by Mick Roberts

8:11 AM, 29th January 2022, About 4 months ago

All these technicalities make it better for that actual tenant, but then make it worse for the next 1000 tenants, which is why we are where we are today. Rents shooting up & supply dwindling for the not perfect tenant.
And Govt says Right Ok, rents shooting up, We'll sort that out, Let's give the Landlord another charge, some more bureaucracy.
Landlord says Ok, I am gonna' have to pay someone else to do that as I can't or don't have the time, so rent is going up again I'm afraid. And if numbers don't add up, or hassle too bad, I'm selling.

by alocjtoi

11:38 AM, 29th January 2022, About 4 months ago

> tried to evict a couple who stopped paying their rent in 2019 using section 8.

A little correction: the notice was served in March 2017. The ruling reffered to above made January 2022. The tenants assumingly lived rent-free of charge for five years and will continue to do so for the next six months until the possession order is granted.

Truly groundbreaking victory, British-style.


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