Section 21 notice invalid and dismissed the claim, with costs.

5 Sep 2023

Nic Nicol represented the defendant Abdi Teklies in proceedings before DDJ Sachdev on 25th August 2023

Hillfield Road Ltd (“HR”) was the freeholder of an 8-room HMO. HR had an HMO licence from the local council. In 2018, HR let one of the rooms to the Claimant, Home Studios 4U (“HS4U”), while letting the remaining rooms itself. In 2020, HS4U sub-let the room to T. HR then sold the freehold to AB5 Properties Ltd (“AB5”). HMO licences cannot be transferred and purchasers of a property cannot take advantage of an HMO licence held by the vendor: Taylor v Mina An Ltd [2019] UKUT 249 (LC); [2020] HLR 10. Therefore, although there was still a licence in existence, the property was an unlicensed HMO under its new owner, AB5. Eventually, in June 2022, AB5 applied for a new licence while the old one was revoked.

In the meantime, in March 2022, HS4U served a section 21 notice on T. In due course, a claim for possession came on for hearing. Amongst other matters, T argued that the section 21 notice could not have been served while it was an unlicensed HMO under section 75 of the Housing Act 2004 and so the claim should be dismissed.

It was argued on behalf of HS4U that, as the landlord of a single room in an HMO, they were not in control of or managing an HMO and so could neither apply for or hold a licence nor control whether the property was licensed. In response, it was argued on behalf of T that this was irrelevant as the property remained an unlicensed HMO. HS4U’s remedy for the disruption to their ability to manage their one room lay in the covenant in their lease by which AB5 covenanted that they had all necessary permissions to allow the letting of the room.

DDJ Sachdev held that the section 21 notice was invalid and dismissed the claim, with costs.

Nic Nicol was instructed by Camden Community Centre

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