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Landlord Alert - Court of Appeal rules in landmark eviction case

A key judgment from the Court of Appeal, announced today, is reported to have gone in favour of landlords and letting agents.

The Northwood Solihull v Fearn/Cooke/Ors case came about as a result of the Solihull branch of lettings agency Northwood using a Section 8 notice to evict a couple who had stopped paying rent in 2019. 

The tenants - Mr Fearn and Ms Cooke - argued that their eviction notice had not been signed by two authorised signatories or by a company director in the presence of a witness. The couple contended this breached section 44 of the Companies Act 2006.


High Court judges ruled that this law did not apply to eviction notices, but did uphold the couple’s claim that it applied to a confirmatory certificate for a rental deposit.

Northwood’s legal representative argued that even having a second signature would have done nothing to improve the tenants’ position. 

Today - with the case elevated to the Court of Appeal - judges gave their final verdict on the case against the tenants.

This means that a single authorised employee of a landlord or letting agent can sign a section 8 notice or section 21 notice or a tenancy deposit certificate without fear of legal repercussions.

It had been feared that a contrary finding - that two signatures were required - would have triggered claims against landlords and agents.

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  • Matthew Payne

    Common sense prevails, good to see the Judges exercising their authority to interpret the law and not allow tenuous technicalities to circumavigate its intention.

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    Wonder who funded the rent dodgers' legal expenses?

    Hope they get costs awarded against them too!

    PS - How about a big victim surcharge too?

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Yes, exactly Robert - very good question that I would like to find the answer to.
    Wonder if the legal Aid board would tell us on a FOI ?

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    Great news but behind this is still a landlord who has presumably not been getting any rent since 2019. These tenants have been allowed to play the system and live rent free for 2 years.
    It is sad ( and ridiculous) that it comes down to technicalities of the paperwork, not the fact that the tenants are not paying their rent which seems the crux of the matter.

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    Great decision, and i trust they will both finding another rental property very difficut from now on given their names are out there, attempting to '' get away with it '' on a technicality, no honour at all.

  • Suzy OShea

    Rent Dodgers or thieves are the right names for these crooked scheisters!

    So glad that the law eventually prevailed in a common sense way!

    But it is disgraceful that they managed to stay in the property for what could have been nearly three years, depending on when they actually stopped paying rent in 2019.

    The legal system is completely broken if you have to wait this long to bring such an action to court.

    Yes, I know that tenants have been given a free pass thanks to the government not wanting lots of homeless people spreading COVID and thus turning landlords into housing charities which also invalidated any insurance policy they may have had to protect them against unpaid rent.

    It would have allowed these tenants to save a hefty deposit, stolen from the landlord. I hope their credit rating is wrecked too so that they can't just walk away with the money they have stolen.

    It is this sort of situation which victimises good landlords and encourages rogue landlords to criminally evict such thieves.


    Given the amount of money owed and the likely fine for illegal eviction the landlord would have been quids in had he have thrown them out, the law is an a**

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    Of course this disgraceful attempt to cheat decent hardworking families who are providing these freeloaders with a home has been funded by one or more of the usual hate gangs

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    At least it cleared up some legal points for LL’s & Tenants alike and put a stop to the nonsense that was going on, people using the law to avoid payment damaging the economy and revenue receipts.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    About time something went in favour of landlords !!!


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