Trinity Barrister Wins Court of Appeal Permission in Housing Case

Alice Richardson

The Court of Appeal has granted a private landlord, represented by Trinity housing barrister Alice Richardson, permission for a second appeal in Pease v Carter & Carter (Ref B5/2019/2470) on whether notices served under s.8 Housing Act 1988 are subject to the “reasonable recipient” test.

On 7th November 2018 the landlord served Notices of Proceedings for Possession under s.8 Housing Act 1988 on the tenants. The landlord relied on discretionary grounds 10 & 11 and mandatory ground 8.

The notice was signed and dated 7th November 2018 but there was a typographical error stating that the earliest date proceedings would begin was 26th November 2017 rather than 26th November 2018.

At a first possession hearing the District Judge allowed the landlord to rely on the notice notwithstanding the error. The tenants appealed that decision.

At the first appeal the landlord relied upon the ‘reasonable recipient’ test in the Mannai Investment Co Ltd v Eagle Star Life Assurance Co Ltd [1997] UKHL 19 line of cases.

The Circuit Judge found that the reasonable recipient would have realised the date was an error and that it was obvious what it should have said. However, relying on the reasoning in Fernandez v McDonald [2003] EWCA Civ 1219 the judge held that the ‘reasonable recipient’ test did not apply to s.8 Notices and therefore the notice was invalid.

Granting the landlord permission for a second appeal on the papers Lord Justice Patten noted that “the appeal raises an important point of principle in relation to notices served under s.8 Housing Act 1988 which has not previously been considered by this Court… Although there is no statutory power to amend or dispense with a s.8 notice in relation to a claim for possession under Ground 8, it is arguable that the judge hearing the first appeal was wrong to conclude that the Mannai approach to the construction of a notice has no application in this case and that the ‘substantially to the same effect’ test does not extend to the date inserted on the prescribed form”.

Alice is instructed by SherReene Cheah of TBI Solicitors.

Alice deals with a wide range of housing law issues, including cases involving discrimination, human rights and public law/judicial review. Alice also undertakes regulatory work in the housing, property and local government sectors. She has particular experience advising on licensing schemes under the Housing Act 2004.

Alice is a member of the Attorney General’s Regional Panel of Counsel and is regularly instructed by the Government Legal Department. She has also been appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission Panel of Counsel.

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