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Prempeh v. Lakhany [2020] EWCA Civ 1422

In Prempeh v. Lakhany [2020] EWCA Civ 1422, the Court of Appeal held that a notice seeking possession under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 does not have to give the landlord's name and address, provided that it states the agent's name and address.  

 

In December 2016 the respondent let the property to the appellant and Ms AB, and O'Sullivan Property Consultants Ltd. ("O'Sullivan") were stated to be the contact address. The appellant says that Ms AB moved out and that in December 2017 O'Sullivan granted her a further tenancy. In April 2019 the respondent's solicitors served the appellant with a notice seeking possession under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 which relied upon grounds 8, 10 and 11. The notice was signed by the solicitors, and gave their name, address and telephone number. It did not refer to the respondent by name or give her address.

 

In May 2019 the respondent commenced possession proceedings. At the first hearing in July 2019, she was granted a possession order. The appellant appealed to the Circuit Judge on the grounds that the hearing had not been procedurally fair, and that the notice was in breach of section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 because it did not give the landlord's name and address. At the appeal hearing, the appellant also argued that the notice was in breach of section 8 because it omitted to state the landlord's name and address and this was required on the prescribed form.

 

The Circuit Judge allowed the appeal on the procedural fairness ground. He dismissed the section 47 ground, and formed no concluded view on the section 8 point.

 

The appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal on two grounds. First, she argued that the notice was a demand for rent within the scope of section 47 and of no effect because it omitted to state the landlord's name and address. Secondly, she argued that it was a breach of section 8 for the same reason.

 

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on both grounds. Although it was conceded by the respondent that the notice was in breach of section 47, the Court held that it was not a demand for rent and therefore the section did not apply. They left open the question of the effect of a breach of section 47. 

 

In relation to ground 2, the respondent conceded that if she was in breach of section 8, the notice was of no effect, and she had to apply to dispense with service of the notice. She put in a Respondent's Notice arguing that it was not necessary to include the landlord's name and address in a section 8 notice. The Court of Appeal agreed. It was held that it is not necessary to give the landlord's name and address, provided that the agent's name and address are given. Accordingly, they did not need to go on and consider whether the giving of the agent's name and address was substantially to the same effect as giving those of the landlord.

 

The case is awaiting trial in the county court to decide a number of issues, including who is the correct landlord, and therefore whether the agent's details on the notice were in fact correct. The Court held that if the respondent is not the landlord, then the Claim should be dismissed and the notice would be of no effect because it did not state the correct agent's details.  

 

Mr Toby Vanhegan and Mr Robert Brown appeared for the appellant.  

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