Walcott v Jones & Jones. Central London County Court, 15 November 2017 (Not on Bailii. A note on Lawtel)
A county court appeal, on an issue that quite a few (though mostly not practitioners) have raised with me elsewhere. Does a periodic tenancy count as being repeatedly ‘renewed/granted’?
Ms W was the landlord of the Joneses. It was accepted for the purposes of the appeal that the tenancy was originally an oral monthly tenancy given in August 2007. Ms W had served a section 21 notice in June 2016 and brought possession proceedings based on it.
At first instance, the Js’ defence was that the landlord had not complied with the requirements of s.21A and s.21B of Housing Act 1988 (as inserted by the Deregulation Act 2015) – the provision of gas safety certificate, EPC and the DCLG ‘How to Rent Booklet’. These requirements only apply to a tenancy that commenced on or after 1 October 2015 (until October 2018, anyway) including any ‘renewal tenancies’. The argument was that as the grant was of a monthly period from the start, each month represented a fresh grant. The DDJ at first instance accepted this, found the s.21 notice invalid and dismissed the possession claim.
Ms W, perhaps not unsurprisingly, appealed.
Judge Hand QC held that as per previous authorities, the grant of periodic tenancy meant that if notice was not given in accordance with the agreement the tenancy would continue after the original term. Whether this was considered as an extension of the original term or a ‘deemed re-grant’ did not matter, as for the purposes of Housing Act 1988 (as amended) neither amounted to a ‘grant’ of tenancy. Parliament did not intend a ‘grant’ in such circumstances. The DDJ had erred in law and appeal allowed.
Well this really rather had to be the case.
We have been near here before, with Leeds argument in Leeds City Council v Broadley (2016) EWCA Civ 1213 (our note), but there concerning council tax liability. However, even in Leeds case, it was acknowledged that a periodic tenancy was a singular tenancy, as per Law of Property Act 1925. And in that case, the court of appeal found that a grant for a year or six months and thereafter month to month periodic was itself a single tenancy.
So, no, there is not a new tenancy each month, a periodic tenancy is a single, ongoing tenancy, from period to period. (Unless it is a statutory periodic arising at the end of a fixed term, when it is a new tenancy – as per Superstrike – but not a ‘renewal’ tenancy for much of the Deregulation Act amends to Housing Act 1988. See, it is perfectly straightforward.)