Coventry View

A litigation lawyer's perspective

Beware of the Notice

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Landlords have to know about all sorts of notices if they are going to be able to manage their properties effectively. I haven’t had time to even try to find them all, but even a brief search turns up a surprising number.

s47 L&TA 87 – Notice of the Name and Address of the landlord, which must be given on all demands for rent or other monies due under the lease, together with an address for service in England and Wales if the address is otherwise abroad. The notice can of course be given by their agent, who can give their details as well but not instead of the landlord’s. This is where the landlord in Beitov Properties v Elliston Martin [2012] UKUT 133 (LC) came unstuck. Until the details are given any monies other than rent that are claimed are not legally due.

s48 L&TA 87 – Address for service in England and Wales of any notices to the landlord, which must be given to the tenant before any monies including rent are due. Doesn’t have to be landlord’s true address (as in s47) and can be the agent’s address – and normally is. This, like s 47, applies to all residential tenancies that are not business tenancies.

s153 C&LRA 02 – Notice in prescribed form (including size of print – no smaller than 10 point) of tenant’s rights in relation to service charges, and which must be delivered with any demand for service charges, otherwise they are not due. There is a similar notice (although with slightly different prescribed wording) which must be delivered with any demand for administrative charges, such as a demand for the costs. This applies to all long residential leases.

s146 LPA 25 –Notice warning of threat of forfeiture. The most famous of the notices, certainly the statutory ones. Applies to all tenancies where the landlord is seeking to enforce a right of re-entry or forfeiture because of the breach of a term of the lease, other than to pay rent. Must inform the tenant of the alleged breach, require it to be remedies within a reasonable time if it is capable of remedy, and require compensation for the breach. Can’t be served in long residential leases unless the matter complained of is admitted, or determined by a court or the LVT beforehand.

s8 HA 88 – Notice Seeking Possession. The necessary first step to recover possession of an Assured Tenancy, including an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Has to specify the breach and also set out in full the ground under Sch 2 that is being relied upon, and if more than one, all of them. It also has to give the date after which the proceedings may be issued, and it runs for 12 months, so you can rely on an old notice provided that they still apply.

s21 HA 88 – Notice Requiring Possession. Not to be confused with the above. 2 months’ notice ending on the end of a rental period means that the court must grant possession on an AST provided everything is in order. Date for notice crucial – note a tenancy that runs from the 1st of the month ends on the 31st (or whatever) of the month, and that is the date that must be given. There is a different form if the notice is served during any fixed term. And the notice is invalid if the tenant’s deposit hasn’t been properly protected and the appropriate notices etc haven’t been served in time  – ie within 30 days of the deposit being received.

And finally the Notice to Quit – which is a creature of common law and the oldest by a long way. It brings a periodic tenancy to an end, provided that it isn’t an assured or secure one, or a business tenancy protected by Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (which has its own forms of notices). The most common reason for serving one is to terminate a periodic assured tenancy where the tenant is no longer living in the property as their principal dwelling house, and so it is no longer assured.

There is one common thread to all these notices: they have to be served on the tenant. And then the landlord has to be able to prove that they have done so. Most tenants will deny receiving them, so just sticking them in the post is not a good idea on the whole. The best way is personal service, with a signed acknowledgement, failing which with a witness or a professional server. However, a well-drawn lease will include the deemed service provisions from s23 L&TA 1927 that allows a notice sent by Recorded Delivery to the tenant’s last know place of abode in England and Wales to be good service on posting, as decided by the ChD in Beanby Estates Ltd v Egg Stores (Stamford Hill) Ltd.

Not the most exciting topic, I’m sure you’ll agree. But an important one.

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