Prescribed Information Signed by Companies

Unsigned Section 21 Notice, valid or invalid?

In the case of Barker v Hands [2007] EWCA Civ 869 a landlord served a notice on the tenant under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. The tenant failed to the leave the property by the end of the notice period and the landlord subsequently issued a possession claim.

The tenant defended the possession claim on the basis that the section 21 notice was unsigned. District Judge Shroder however found that the section 21 notice was valid and did not need to be signed and granted the landlord a possession order.

The tenant appealed and HHJ Rubery dismissed the appeal. The tenant then appealed to the Court of Appeal where Sir Henry Brooke, sitting as Judge of the Court of Appeal, stating:
This second appeal raises no important point of principle or practice, and in any event the judge’s decision was clearly right.

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 does not contain any provision that the section 21 notice must be signed or executed.

It should however be noted that this court decision was made at a time when there was no prescribed form of section 21 notice. Now there is a prescribed form of section 21 notice (Form 6A) which contains a place for the landlord, landlord’s agent or lawyer or sign in which could perhaps be argued that the prescribed form of Section 21 does require signing.

In any event, a section 21 notice should be signed to avoid any contention and delays that can occur with a defended possession claim. However, this is still a case to refer to where there is a dispute as to the validity of a section 21 notice because the notice was not signed.