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Case Law: Eviction Notices

24th February 2022

Case Law: Eviction Notices

Northwood Solihull vs Cooke/Fearn

At the end of January an important court case was being concluded that clarified how landlords and letting agents can remove tenants. The Northwood Solihull vs Cooke/Fearn case was an eviction challenge between agents from Northwood estate agents branch in Solihull, the property’s landlord and tenants named Cooke and Fearn. In this case Cooke/Fearn argued that the eviction notice and deposit protection certificate were invalid. The outcome of this case has been to clarify which signatures are required to repossess a property in order to make the eviction notices valid.


The Case

On the 26th January 2022, the court of appeals delivered its verdict on the long running Northwood Solihull vs Cooke/Fearn case. This case had been in the high court since 2019 with a Section 8 eviction notice being given to Cooke initially in 2017. Cooke argued that the eviction notice and deposit protection certificates were invalid. This was as both notices hadn’t been signed by two authorised signatories or by a company director in the presence of a witness under the Companies Act 2006. The lawyers representing the landlord and estate agents argued that the Housing Act 1988 didn’t specify who is required to sign a possession notice or a deposit protection certificate. Additionally, it was argued that it was impossible for larger estate agencies and corporate landlords to comply with the Companies Act 2006 as the organisations are too large for a company director to sign every possession notice.


The Verdict


After being elevated to the high court the court ruled unanimously in favour of the Northwood Solihull Estate Agents who served the notice and the landlord. The ruling stated that section 8 and section 21 notices along with prescribed information, including deposit protection certificates, do not need to be signed in accordance with the Companies Act 2006. If an eviction notice or prescribed information is signed in accordance with the Housing Act 1988 then it is valid. 


What it means


The ruling means that only an authorised employee of the landlord or the letting agent is required to sign an eviction notice. This will better protect larger landlords and letting agents for whom it was impracticable to comply with the 2006 Companies Act for every eviction or deposit protection scheme. Additionally, it removes a technical defence against Section 21 evictions in court as it clears up what signatures are required for an eviction to proceed. 


Douglas Haig, Managing Director of the Seraph Group comments,


This is a considerable relief for the industry and it’s good to see a common sense decision.  The fact this was even argued in the first place shows how important it is for landlords and agents to not only be fully versed in the law directly relating to tenancy law but the intertwining impact of all the other legislation which touches upon renting and managing properties day-to-day.  It continues to reinforce how complex a landscape it is and why getting the right support and advice at the right time is so important.”


If you want to find out how this case may affect your properties and how appointing a property manager can help you serve the correct notices, please feel free to contact us here.




This legal case study is provided free of charge and for informational purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon for such.