Question

Landlord Wants Tenant to Leave (England)

Witness Statement for serving S.21 Notice

22 Mar 2017 | 2 comments

We served a S.21 notice last November to a tenant for anti social behaviour. She did not leave the property so we commenced court proceedings. This week the case was heard at county court however because the tenant did not attend, nor did we provide evidence of serving the notice, the judge could not continue with the hearing and grant the property back to us as there was no evidence the notice was served. I know this was our own fault but historically we have not provided a witness statement to the court stating notice was served. Please please please can you highlight the importance of producing a witness statement at the time of serving the S.21 notice and tell landlords to keep it on file to submit to the Court if it gets that far. Our own mistake, and a frustrating one! Thank you.

Answer

2 Comments

  1. mart05

    Normally the evidence I use is proof of posting. I didn’t need witness statement so far. Hope this is still OK rather than witness statement

  2. guildy

    I think the judge was plain wrong.

    We’ve never issued guidance that a witness statement should be issued and had hundreds (if not more) gone through.

    There is nothing in the Civil Procedure Rules requiring this.

    Furthermore, the claim form specifically asks who served the notice and when, which is then signed by a “statement of truth” which is to be taken by the court under the rules as being evidence of the fact (which I accept can be contested but given that the tenant did not deny receipt, should have been accepted).

    Some courts do insist upon a “certificate of service” for the section 21 being issued and this form (with sample completed) forms part of our completing the court form guidance.

    Although extra cost and time, in our view an appeal might be worth considering (after further advice). Asking the court why the part of the form about service was not considered by the judge would be difficult for them to answer in our view. We presume you put in the form the proof of postage certificate as suggested in the guidance.

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