A UK court case has delivered a landmark ruling that will affect every landlord in the country.
Now any legal notice served on a tenant must have the landlord’s own address on it and not a care of address being that of the agent.
The case of Beitov Properties v Elliston Bentley Martin  UKUT 133 (LC) ruled that a landlord seeking to recover a service charge from a tenant had not complied with the statutory requirements of section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 because the landlord used an indirect address ‘care of’ its managing agents in its demand notice.
The landlord was deemed not to have served a valid demand by using a care of address and the court ruled that the statutory requirements of section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 had been breached so therefore nothing was due from the tenant.
It is common practice for a landlord seeking payment for sums due from a tenant – whether rent, service charge or insurance – to delegate the collection task to managing agents and for the managing agent to be named as the correspondent and recipient of the sum due in payment notices.
The landmark legal case will serve as an important reminder to UK landlords and property managing agents to get ALL the technical details right.
Section 47 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987 requires a landlord to give his or her name and address in any written demand to his residential tenants, wether they are comfortable with it or not.
The Act applies to all UK landlords and their appointed agents.
An individual landlord managing their own properties has to provide their legal residential address, and a company has to provide the address of its legally registered office. Using the letting agent’s or managing agent’s address does not suffice, as it is not the landlord’s legal address.
The implications of the Beitov decision may be more far-reaching than is first apparent. For example, it may not be possible simply to re-serve the demand with a correct address, as the demand could be out of time: service charge demands must be made within 18 months of the liability being incurred.
And of course, many landlords do not like to disclose their addresses to their tenants.
Finally, if a tenant has already paid as a result of a demand that proves defective, they may be able to claw back payments on the basis that they were forced to pay under an invalid demand.
Sim Sekhon, spokesman for Legal 4 Landlords, said: “Property managing agents and landlords need to sit up and take notice of this landmark legal case or face the consequences. If the landlord’s demand notices to tenants are found to be technically defective, they can face consequences paying out up to six years worth of payments if demand notices are not fully compliant with the Landlord & Tenant Act in terms of correct address details.
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