Periodic tenancies and the Deregulation Act 2015
In the case of Walcott v Jones & Jones, the County Court considered on appeal whether a periodic tenancy had been repeatedly renewed and whether the landlord therefore had to comply with certain requirements introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015.
The landlord, Mrs Walcott, granted an assured shorthold tenancy to Mr and Mrs Jones in August 2007, which was let under an oral monthly tenancy.
In June 2016, the landlord served a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (“the Notice”). The tenants asserted that the Notice was invalid as the landlord had not complied with the provisions introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015, namely that the landlord had not obtained a gas safety certificate or an EPC (section 21A Housing Act 1988), nor provided the information booklet regarding the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant under an assured shorthold tenancy (section 21B Housing Act 1988).
At first instance, the Judge held that the Notice was invalid. Whilst the original tenancy had been granted before October 2015 (the date these new requirements under the Deregulation Act 2015 came into effect), they found that there had been a re-grant of it at the end of each period of the tenancy. Therefore, the landlord was subject to the requirements under section 21A and 21B.
The landlord appealed against this decision and the appeal was allowed. The Court held that a “new” tenancy had not been granted at the end of each period of the tenancy and Parliament did not intend there to be a re-grant of a tenancy in those circumstances. Consequently, the tenancy was held to have been granted in August 2007 and therefore the landlord was not required to comply with sections 21A and 21B.
Whilst this was a welcome decision for private landlords in terms of on-going tenancies that were granted prior to October 215, as can be seen from other articles in this edition, landlords need to ensure they comply with the requirements to serve statutory documents on their tenants.