In Bali v Manaquel Company Limited, the tenant succeeded in his appeal against a possession order made by Lambeth County Court.
Mr Bali was an assured shorthold tenant. A deposit was taken and protected by his landlord Manaquel Company Limited. Manaquel served a section 21 and sought possession of the property from Mr Bali. The issue raised at first instance and at appeal was whether Manaquel had complied with the requirements on serving the Prescribed Information pursuant to the terms and conditions of the deposit scheme.
Mr Bali argued that the Prescribed Information served on him by Manaquel was defective for two reasons:
- The landlord had not included the Deposit Protection Service leaflet for tenants. The landlord had included a print out of the DPS ‘terms and conditions’ but not the leaflet.
The Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007 includes a requirement at 2(1)(b) to give the tenant:
(b) any information contained in a leaflet supplied by the scheme administrator to the landlord which explains the operation of the provisions contained in sections 212 to 215 of, and Schedule 10 to, the Act….
The appeal judge held that the requirement was to provide ‘any information contained in a leaflet’, not necessarily the leaflet itself. As it was common ground that the DPS ‘terms and conditions’ provided included all the information that was contained in the DPS leaflet, the landlord has satisfied this requirement and ground one of the appeal, failed.
The landlord had not properly provided a certificate as required by s.2(1)(g)(vii) of the 2007 Order. Section.2(1)(g) requires:
(vii) confirmation (in the form of a certificate signed by the landlord) that—
(aa) the information he provides under this sub-paragraph is accurate to the best of his knowledge and belief; and
- (bb) he has given the tenant the opportunity to sign any document containing the information provided by the landlord under this article by way of confirmation that the information is accurate to the best of his knowledge and belief.
The second issue raised by Mr Bali was that the certificate provided was ‘signed’ with Manaquel’s name written in manuscript as Manaquel Co. Ltd, and signed PP with illegible initials. Mr B argued that this did not comply with the requirements of s.44 Companies Act 2006 which provides:
(2) A document is validly executed by a company if it is signed on behalf of the company– (a) by two authorised signatories, or
(b) by a director of the company in the presence of a witness who attests the signature
The appeal judge held that that the Prescribed Information certificate was a document that required ‘execution’ as the accuracy of it needed to be certified for a ‘formal legal purpose’.
Accordingly, the requirement of s.2(1)(g)(vii) of the 2007 Order had not been met, because the prescribed information had not been given in full making the section 21 notice served, invalid.
The Judge acknowledged that this might well be a trap for the unwary, but the requirement for the company landlord, was for a signed certificate, and that must be in a manner compliant with the Companies Act 2006.
The Order has been stayed for 7 days to allow Manaquel time to appeal.
With thanks to Nearly Legal.
It is important for company landlords and their agents to ensure that they sign the Prescribed Information certificate and ensure that they comply with the Companies Act 2006. Technical points such as these are important and companies are advised to check the requirements to ensure compliance. There is no need for two directors to sign everything but it must be clear that the person signing is authorised to do so and it would be advisable to ensure that there are two such signatures.