Part III of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987
Validity of notices
Arrowgame Ltd v Wildsmith
 EWHC 3315
The terms of a notice served by tenants under s27 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 should set out the reasons why it is an appropriate case for an acquisition order. The tenants are not required to include in the notice a requirement that the landlord remedy any of the matters complained of within a specified period.
The intermediate landlord appealed against an acquisition order made under LTA 1987 Part III, which provides for the compulsory acquisition by tenants of their landlord’s interest. The landlord claimed that the tenants’ notice was void.
Before an application for an acquisition order can be made the tenants are obliged to serve a preliminary notice under s. 27 setting out the grounds relied upon. The relevant parts of section 27 provide as follows:
“(2) A notice under this section must: The final paragraph of the s.27 notice in this case stated: “these grounds are not capable of remedy”.
… (b) State that those tenants intend to make an application for an acquisition order to be made by the Court... but (if paragraph d is applicable) that they will not do so if the landlord complies with the requirement specified in pursuance of that paragraph;
(c) Specify the grounds on which the court would be asked to make such an order and the matters that would be relied on by the tenants for the purpose of establishing those grounds;
(d) Where those matters are capable of being remedied by the landlord, require the landlord, within such reasonable period as is specified in the notice, to take such steps for the purpose of remedying them as are so specified; . . .”
The High court dismissed the appeal and found for the tenants.
Counsel for the landlord submitted that that the statement that the grounds were not capable of remedy was incorrect because at least some of them were, and that as a result the notice was void. He submitted that, by analogy with forfeiture notices served pursuant to s146 of the Law of Property Act 1925, if any matter complained of in the notice was in fact capable of remedy, the s27 notice was invalid, subject only to the Court’s dispensing power (a power which does not exist in the context of s.146).
Counsel for the tenants argued that the notice complained of “past instances of bad behaviour” and that they were incapable of remedy, whether in practical or theoretical terms, and that is why the notice did not need to specify the remedial action that was required.
The judge held that in simple terms, the notice must spell out the reason(s) why the applicants contend it is an appropriate case for an acquisition order. The tenants were not required to include in the notice a requirement that the landlord remedy any of the matters complained of within a specified reasonable period.
This is the first contested case on the interpretation of s27 LTA 1987. As the acquisition order was upheld this case will now go to the LVT to assess the compensation due to the landlord.
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