Court orders dismissal of a bankruptcy petition

Sunset Limited and Morville Limited presented a bankruptcy petition in respect of Mr Al-Hindi based on the failure to comply with a statutory demand presented in March 2022 seeking payment of £248,720 in respect of unpaid rent for four properties.

Directions were thereafter given for evidence in answer and reply. Mr Al-Hindi did not serve evidence in reply on time and on 12 December 2022, the court ordered that unless Mr Al-Hindi filed evidence in reply and a notice of opposition by 12 December 2022, he would be barred from defending the petition. Mr Al-Hindi then filed evidence in answer (agreeing the arrears) dated 19 December 2022 and a statement in reply was filed dated 22 December 2022.

On 23 January 2023, the court gave directions for Mr Al-Hindi to make a relief application. This was made on 20 February 2023 together with an application to strike out the petition. The relief application was dismissed on 21 February 2023 and the matter listed for a final hearing with directions that Mr Al-Hindi could only rely on three points in his defence, one being that the debt was not due and payable by reason of s.48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.

Section 48 states that a landlord is required by notice to provide a tenant with an address in England and Wales at which notices may be served, and if a landlord fails to provide a valid address for service, any rent otherwise due from a tenant shall be treated as not due until the landlord does comply.

The service address in the tenancy agreements was an address in Jersey and no notice of a service address in England and Wales was given until 6 February 2023, after presentation of the petition (and service of the statutory demand). Mr Al-Hindi therefore claimed the rent was not due when the petition was presented by virtue of s.48. 

The court agreed and ordered that the petition was to be dismissed at the next hearing.

Sunset Limited Morville Limited v Abdulla Al-Hindi [2023] EWHC 2443 (Ch), 2023 WL 06466565

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