Signature of Prescribed Information Forms and Possession Notices

February 13, 2021

tenancy depositOwning property through a limited company is turning out to be more problematic than many landlords realised.

One problem that has recently come to light was thrown up in the case of Northwood Solihull Ltd v Fearn & Ors from late 2020.

This was all about section 8 notices and prescribed information notices and whether they would be invalided if they were not signed in accordance with section 44 of the Companies Act 2006 if signed on behalf of a limited company.

For example, if the landlord is a limited company or if the forms are being signed as an agent where the agency is a limited company.

The court decided that this was not ‘a determinative matter’ where the document was a section 8 notice (although it is possible that it could be in the case of a corporate letting agent signing on behalf of a landlord).

However, it WAS a problem if the document was a tenancy deposit prescribed information notice.

To remind you – section 44 requires signing either by

  • two directors, or
  • a director and a company secretary, or
  • a director before a witness.

What you need to do

If you think you have served a prescribed information notice which was incorrectly signed, you may want to consider re-serving it – and you should definitely re-serve it (correctly signed) before serving any section 21 notices.  As otherwise they will be invalidated.

Going forward – if you are signing on behalf of a corporate landlord or agency, make sure you comply with section 44 when signing your prescribed information form.  And ideally your possession notices too (better safe than sorry).

The Northwood case is a High Court case and so could in due course be appealed. However, in  the meantime, I have amended the Landlord Law prescribed information notice and our article on prescribed information.

I have also put a warning note on the possession notices page.

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