09/11/2020

I’m not demanding, I’m telling you – section 8 notices

Prempeh v Lakhany (2020) EWCA Civ 1422

We saw this case on a first appeal in the County Court. The issue was whether a section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds, in this instance grounds 8, 10 and 11, is a ‘demand for rent’ for the purposes of section 47 Landlord and Tenant Act 1987:

47 Landlord’s name and address to be contained in demands for rent etc.

(1) Where any written demand is given to a tenant of premises to which this Part applies, the demand must contain the following information, namely—

(a) the name and address of the landlord, and

(b) if that address is not in England and Wales, an address in England and Wales at which notices (including notices in proceedings) may be served on the landlord by the tenant.

The section 8 notice was not signed by the landlord and did not have the landlord’s address, rather it was signed by the landlord’s solicitors as agent and gave their address. This argument failed at first instance on on first appeal. The tenant brought a second appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal in fairly short order.

A notice seeking possession was not a demand for rent, there was no express demand in the prescribed form of section 8 notice, nor could it be said to be an implied demand or requirement to pay. The purpose was to provide the tenant with information on the landlord’s proposed course of action. There was therefore no requirement to comply with s.47 (and of course a non-rent arrears section 8 notice would not have to). Moreover the prescribed form did not require the landlord’s name and address, stating at 6 as it did:

“6. Name and address of landlord/licensor*.
To be signed and dated by the landlord or licensor or the landlord’s or licensor’s agent (someone acting for the landlord or licensor) If there are joint landlords each landlord or the agent must sign unless one signs on behalf of the rest with their agreement.”

This also dispatched the tenant’s second ground of appeal – that the prescribed form required the landlord’s signature and address. The prescribed form did not include any extra box or dotted lines for the landlord’s name and address, if the form was completed by an agent, nor did the form have any instructions to the effect that these details must be added.

 

 

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

1 Comment

  1. Philip Copley

    Sensible decision – and surprised that they managed to obtain leave to appeal in the first place!

    Reply

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