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Rachel Anthony success in case where Court decides Section 8 Notices do Fall Within Section 7 Housing Wales Act 2014.

Darryl Evans and Karen Evans –v- Darren Steve Jarvis: Before HHJ Garland Thomas, at Swansea County Court E1PP056A, on appeal from Haverfordwest County Court .

Rachel Anthony represented Mr and Mrs Evans as Direct Access Counsel.

The Respondent Claimant issued a claim for possession of a residential property. The Property was located in Saundersfoot, and was therefore located entirely within Wales. The Respondent presented a written tenancy agreement dated December 2015 but no evidence in respect of compliance with registration or licensing under Housing (Wales) Act 2014. He relied upon a Section 8 notice which was signed by the Respondent and said to be in his personal capacity as Landlord. The Section 8 notice stated that possession was sought on Grounds 8, 10 and 11. The Particulars of Claim did not specify any statutory grounds but explained that the reason for possession was rent arrears. The Appellants  filed and served a Defence and Counterclaim which raised many issues, but did not refer to the issues in respect of registration or licensing. At the CMC on 24/6/19, the District Judge made an  order for possession, dismissed parts of the counterclaim and listed the remaining money claim (re rent arrears) and counterclaim in October 2019. The Appellants lodged an appeal against the possession order on 19/08/19, which was heard by HHJ Garland Thomas on 20/08/19. The Appeal was brought on the ground that the decision to Order possession was wrong in law due to the Landlord’s non compliance with Housing (Wales) Act 2014. 

At the Appeal hearing, it became clear that the Respondent had registered as Landlord with Rent Smart Wales in July 2019, and become licensed in August 2019 . It was not clear who was the registered  landlord at the material time as the historical information was not readily available from the Rent Smart Wales  website, but it was thought to be a Company of which the Respondent was the Director. In any event, it was apparent that the Respondent was not registered or licensed at the material time, namely the time of service of the Section 8 notice. 

The Appellants argued that a Section 8 notice was a notice to terminate a tenancy within the meaning of Section 7 Housing (Wales ) Act 2014. The Respondents argued that because Section 44 H (W) A 2014 does not mention Section 8, that there was no requirement to be registered or licensed to serve a section 8 notice. The Learned Judge found that the intention of legislation was to afford tenants a high degree of protection. There was no reason to exclude section 8 notices from Section 7 (2) (f) H(W)A 2014, and therefore a landlord must be licensed or use a licensed provider/ comply with Section 7 H(W) A 2014 to serve a section 8 notice for properties located in Wales. The order for possession was bad in law, and therefore the appeal succeeded.