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Companies and ‘Signing’ the Deposit Protection Certificate

The County Court case of Bali v Manaquel Company Limited, 15th April 2016 raises further questions as to the validity of the prescribed information.

Tenancy agreements | tenancy deposit protection

The case was an appeal of a possession order made against Mr Bali at Lambeth County Court. Mr Bali was the assured shorthold tenant of Manaquel Company Limited. A deposit was taken and protected. Manaquel subsequently served a section 21 notice and issued possession proceedings.

The first instance Judge found that Manaquel Company Limited had complied with the section 21 requirements and made an outright possession order; the same issues were then raised on appeal.

The appellant asserted that the information that had been served was defective for two reasons. The first ground relating to the information leaflet failed but the second ground was successful, albeit the Respondent was granted permission to Appeal so this may change.

Essentially, the landlord had not properly provided a certificate as required by s.2(1)(g)(vii) of the Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007. This requires:

(vii) confirmation (in the form of a certificate signed by the landlord) that—
(aa) the information he provides under this sub-paragraph is accurate to the best of his knowledge and belief; and
(bb) he has given the tenant the opportunity to sign any document containing the information provided by the landlord under this article by way of confirmation that the information is accurate to the best of his knowledge and belief.

The specific issue was that the certificate provided was ‘signed’ with Manaquel’s name written in manuscript as Manaquel Co. Ltd, and signed PP with illegible initials. Mr Bali argued that this did not comply with the requirements of s.44 Companies Act 2006. At s.44(2), this provides:-

(2) A document is validly executed by a company if it is signed on behalf of the company–
(a) by two authorised signatories, or
(b) by a director of the company in the presence of a witness who attests the signature

The question was whether the prescribed information certificate was a document that required ‘execution’. The appeal judge held that it was, as it was a certification of the accuracy of the information for a ‘formal legal purpose’.

As the certificate had not been properly ‘signed’, the requirement of s.2(1)(g)(vii) of the 2007 Order had not been met, the prescribed information had not been given in full and the section 21 notice served was not valid.

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