the law surrounding the proper signing of notices has finally been clarified...
As many of our landlord and letting agent clients will know, before issuing possession proceedings, we are required to review a wide range of tenancy documents. This is to ensure that everything is in order and that all the necessary documents are valid to support a possession claim.
In recent years, we have had to advise that notices or prescribed information which have not been signed in accordance with section 44 of the Companies Act 2006 may be found to be invalid during a Court hearing. This advice followed the outcome of a possession claim of Northwood Solihull v Fearn & Cooke. In this claim, the landlord had applied for possession relying on a section 8 notice. The tenant defended the claim on the basis that the section 8 notice had not been signed in accordance with the Companies Act 2006, i.e. the notice had not been signed by either:-
- Two authorised signatories; or
- A company Director in the presence of a witness.
The tenant also counter-claimed against the landlord for failure to protect the deposit correctly as the deposit prescribed information had also not been signed in accordance with the Companies Act 2006.
On 21 December 2019, High Court Judges decided that the Companies Act 2006 did not apply to the signing of section 8 notices but did apply to the signing of prescribed information.
The matter was referred to the Court of Appeal and on 26 January 2022, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the landlord on both aspects. We now have a binding decision that possession notices and prescribed information can be signed by agents on behalf of landlords and landlords do not need to be concerned with section 44 of the Companies Act.
This is a practical decision and will come as welcome relief to many corporate landlords and letting agents, many of whom have had to re-serve documentation and face further delays or who have issued proceedings and then faced difficult questioning from the hearing Judge.
If you require any assistance with a residential landlord and tenant matter, please do not hesitate to contact Amy Johnson-White via email at email@example.com or via telephone on 0330 0881 521.