Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The rumblings of the Superstrike case continue

The rumblings of the Superstrike case continue, with a tenant defeating a notice to quit in a hearing at Birmingham County Court.

It’s not clear from reports of Gardner v McCusker 3BM70525 whether the notice served was under 21 (4) (A) for a periodic tenancy or a 21 (1) (B) for a fixed term and whether the Section notice was invalid simply because the agent had used the wrong one.

What is clear, however, is the landlords or their agents must ensure they re-serve prescribed information when a tenancy changes from an assured shorthold to a periodic.

The tenant, McCusker, agreed a fixed term for six months in November 2009. There was a deposit of £600, protected in the MyDeposits scheme in January 2010. There were various attempts to serve the prescribed information between November 2009 and September 2012. In May 2010, the fixed term tenancy expired and a statutory periodic tenancy arose. In March 2013, a notice under s.21, Housing Act 1988 was served. Possession proceedings were issued and met with a defence and counterclaim contending that there had been, inter alia, no service of the prescribed information in respect of the statutory periodic tenancy.

The court regarded the failed attempts to serve as non-service, the claim by the landlords (Gardner) for repossession failed, and they were ordered to repay the deposit and a penalty, a total of £1,800, plus costs, some of which were offset against rent arrears.

The moral of the story is that after an AST ends and the tenancy becomes periodic it must be regarded as a new tenancy and although the deposit is not subject to any specific transfers between parties again and remains with the deposit scheme it is regarded as a new deposit in law.

Superstrike and its ramifications are still under consideration by the Government with a view to legislative change but until this occurs a belt and braces approach must be taken with all prescribed information served again successfully in order to protect the landlord’s rights should repossession become necessary.

Lisa Simon, 
Head of Residential Lettings
T: 020 7518 3234 
E: lisa.simon@carterjonas.co.uk

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