The Supreme Court has today refused permission to appeal to the tenant in the case of Spencer v Taylor. David Smith of Anthony Gold Solicitors with James Browne of Lamb Chambers acted for the landlord in opposing the permission application

What does this mean?

The refusal of permission means that the original decision of the Court of Appeal in this matter is now good law and can be taken as the accurate position on section 21 notices. We wrote about this here.  However, in summary this means that if there has been a previous fixed term tenancy a s21(1)(b) notice which is the simpler form of notice and only requires 2 calendar months notice (ie. there is no need for the notice to expire at the end of a period) can be served both in the fixed term or any subsequent statutory periodic tenancy. 

Practical effectsFor much of the private rental sector this decision will mean that  the s21(4)(a) notice is effectively dead and a lot of the cases that have caused landlords and agents concern over the years are now largely irrelevant. Even where an s21(4)(a) notice has been served the provisions of s21(1)(b) will have effect and so this will mean that an incorrect date will probably not be a problem provided that the tenant has at least had two calendar months notice.

Our View

David Smith said:

"This decision is good news for landlords. The confusion caused by s21(4)(a) benefits nobody in the property sector other than lawyers. While some tenant organisations may feel that the longer periods offered by this notice was of value the time involved was often illusory and was very variable. The confusion caused by the use of saving provisions and the uncertainty over whether or not a valid notice had been served was, in reality, of minimal benefit to tenants and meant that they were also unsure if they really had to leave. The Court of Appeal decision meant that this confusion was significantly reduced. I am pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld that judgement."