Technical Defence to Possession Claim Succeeds on Appeal

Bali v Manaquel Company Limited, County Court at Central London (HHJ Hand QC), 15th April 2016

Nick Bano acted for the tenant in Bali v Manaquel Company Limited, which was an appeal on a novel technical defence to a section 21 possession claim.

Where a landlord has taken a deposit they must protect it and give the tenant ‘prescribed information’, which includes a certificate that the landlord must sign.  In this case the landlord was a limited company and the appellant argued that the certificate did not comply with the requirements for a executing a document on behalf of a company under section 44 of the Companies Act 2006.

Section 44 provides that a company document is properly executed if it is signed by two authorised signatories, or the by the company director (who must have their signature witnessed).

In this case there was only one signature on the certificate.  HHJ Hand QC ruled that the certificate is a document to which section 44 applies, that it had not been properly executed, and that consequently the landlord had not properly given the tenant the ‘prescribed information’.  The section 21 notice was therefore invalid.

In his judgment HHJ Hand QC expressed doubt that many commercial landlords comply with section 44 of the Companies Act, and noted that his judgment confirmed a ‘trap for the unwary’.

Mr Bali is currently being filmed for a documentary about tenants standing up to possession claims.

Nick was instructed by Anthony Gold Solicitors.