Prempeh v Lakhany 2020: Section 8 Notice Validity
Landlords; will failing to include your name and address on a section 8 notice render it invalid?
This question was considered by the Court of Appeal in the recent case of Prempeh v Lakhany .
In Prempeh v Lakhany 2020, a section 8 notice was served in respect of rent arrears.
The section 8 notice was signed by the landlord’s agent, not the landlord, and gave the name, address and telephone number of the landlord’s agent. The section 8 notice did not refer to the landlord, Mrs Lakhany, by her name or address. The accompanying covering letter sent by the agent stated that they were acting for the landlord “Mrs F Lakhany”, however did not give her address.
One of the questions for the Court of Appeal was whether a section 8 notice has to contain the landlord’s own name and address.
The Court of Appeal held that the prescribed form section 8 notice does not require the landlord’s own name and address, in the case where it is signed by the landlord’s agent. The Court found that there was no space on the prescribed form for additional information to be included and there were no instructions for the landlord’s details to be included.
This is positive news for landlords as it removes the possibility of the tenants successfully challenging the validity of a section 8 notice on this technical ground.
Prempeh v Lakhany 2020 deals with section 8 notices and at this time, it is not clear whether there is any authority in relation to section 21 notices. The difficulty with both section 8 and section 21 notices is that the prescribed forms do not leave very much space for the landlord’s name and address to be inserted. It is possible that, following Prempeh, the court could take a similar view to section 21 notices, where they have been signed by the landlord’s agent.
The outcome of Prempeh v Lakhany 2020 may have been different if there is a dispute over who the landlord is and the covering letter to the section 8 notice does not identify the landlord. In most cases the tenant is likely to know the identity and details of the landlord.
In our view, it would be prudent to include the landlord’s name and address on both section 8 and section 21 notices, to avoid a possible challenge to the validity of the notice.
If there is any doubt, please contact our property litigation team for advice.