The Court of Appeal has now confirmed that the hearing of Jarvis & Evans & Evans will take place on either 16 or 17 June 2020. This is an important case for Welsh landlords and tenants concerning whether a landlord who is not licensed or registered under s.7 Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (HWA) can serve a valid section 8 notice seeking possession. You can read more about the background to the case in my previous blog here.
Landlords usually rely on the section 8 possession procedure when the tenant has defaulted in some way. In this case a section 8 notice was served because the tenants had fallen into rent arrears. The other route to possession is through the section 21 procedure, often known as ‘no-fault’ or ‘notice-only’ eviction. While the HWA expressly states that a section 21 notice may not be given if the landlord is unregistered or unlicensed (subject to certain exceptions, for example, if the landlord acts through a licensed agent), there has been no definitive answer on whether the same restriction applies to section 8 notices. This is the issue that the Court of Appeal has been asked to decide.
The Appellant will contend that the HWA does not prohibit the service of a section 8 notice by an unregistered or unlicensed landlord and such an interpretation would amount to a disproportionate interference with the landlord’s rights to peaceful enjoyment of his or her property. The Respondent will seek to uphold the interpretation adopted by the circuit judge, HHJ Garland-Thomas, in the county court appeal, namely that a section 8 notice is a ‘notice to terminate a tenancy’ and can only be validly served by the landlord if s/he is licensed.
The outcome of this case will have wide-ranging consequences for the private rented sector in Wales. The Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) is supporting the landlord and Shelter Cymru have been given permission to intervene. With the hearing date now set, there should soon be binding authority from the Court of Appeal on the correct interpretation of the HWA and its interplay with section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.
Anthony Gold are acting for the landlord in the appeal who is being assisted by the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA).