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Court of Appeal upholds "unparalled" Housing (Wales) Act 2014 eviction rules

Welsh law means that a landlord who is unlicensed cannot lawfully serve an eviction notice on tenants, the Court of Appeal has found.

Lord Justice Newey upheld a ruling by Swansea County Court that landlord Darren Jarvis had not served a valid notice on Darryl and Karen Evans, who had rented a home from him in Saundersfoot and who he said were in £8,000 of arrears.

The judge said the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 regulated landlords and their agents in a way “which has no parallel in England”.

This included that landlords must be registered and licensed to carry out either lettings or property management activities for domestic tenancies.

Haverfordwest County Court had ruled for Mr Jarvis that the arrears level "makes out the mandatory ground for possession”.

The couple appealed to Swansea County Court, raising the issue of Mr Jarvis’s lack of a licence, and HHJ Garland-Thomas allowed this noting that while a company of which he was a director was licensed, Mr Jarvis himself was not.

Mr Jarvis challenged that ruling at the Court of Appeal.

Newey LJ said the appeal asked whether a landlord must be licensed to serve a notice under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.

He said that a landlord did have to be licensed themselves as they could use an authorised agent or solicitor do this on his behalf.

But Mr Jarvis had served the section 8 notice on Mr and Mrs Evans when he was not licensed, when he rendered it invalid.