Landlord and tenant in dispute over signing of possession notice

A possession notice didn’t have to include a landlord's name and address where it was signed by the landlord's agent; it was sufficient to give the name and address of the agent.

That was the decision of the Court of Appeal in a case involving a tenant who had an assured shorthold tenancy of a flat. She had rent arrears of over £11,000 and the landlord served a s.8 notice under the Housing Act 1988, signed by her solicitors as her agents.

The landlord began possession proceedings but the tenant argued that the s.8 notice was invalid because it was a "demand for rent" within the meaning of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 and so had to give the name and address of the landlord herself, not just that of her agent.

The deputy district judge rejected that argument and made a possession order.

The case went all the way to the Court of Appeal, which upheld the original decision.

It held that the notice simply gave information to the tenant. Nothing in the prescribed form demanded, requested or even invited the tenant to do anything. It was not a "demand for rent".

Under the Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies Regulations 2015, the form prescribed for a s.8 notice was "Form 3". This did not require the landlord's own name and address to be provided. It was sufficient that the name and address of the person signing be provided, which might be the landlord's agent.

The instructions for filling in para.6 were: "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)". That was followed by dotted lines for the signature, and dotted lines for name, address and telephone.

Form 3, therefore, did not require the landlord's own name and address in cases where it was signed by the landlord's agent.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of commercial property law.

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