Court of Appeal Clarity on Signing of Documents

27 January 2022

 

The Court of Appeal (‘COA’) has handed down judgment in the second appeal of Northwood Solihull v Fearn & Ors, which was heard last week…

 

The Facts

The landlord had filed a claim for possession following service of a notice under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 based on rent arrears.

The tenants counterclaimed for damages for failure to provide a valid prescribed information certificate as required by section 213(5) of the Housing Act 2004.

Both the notice and certificate were signed by a company director or property manager of the landlord company.

The tenants claimed that the notice and certificate should have been signed by two directors or one director whose signature is witnessed (in accordance with section 44 of the Companies Act 2006).

The landlord argued that the level of formality in section 44 was not required for the notice or certificate and that a properly authorised individual could validly sign the notice and/or certificate on behalf of the landlord.

On first appeal, the COA found that the notice was valid without compliance with section 44, but the certificate was invalid.

 

The Issues

The main questions being answered by the COA were:

1. What is the correct way for a notice to be signed by a corporate landlord?

2. What is the correct way for a certificate to be signed by a corporate landlord?

 

The Decision

The COA agreed with the landlord’s position! It was held that notices and certificates can be validly signed by an authorised individual on behalf of a corporate landlord.

 

Conclusion

The practical and logistical challenges which would have been caused to landlords had the tenants’ case been preferred have thankfully been avoided! Imagine the implications for corporate landlords if every notice and certificate had to be signed by at least one director and a witness!

 

#landlords, if you need support in seeking #possession of your property or any other #landlordlaw issue, then get in touch with Rebecca at Landlord Support for some free and friendly initial advice followed by fixed fee support throughout your case:

01704 790 532

[email protected]

www.landlord-support.co.uk