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Landlord's address for service

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At Warner Goodman Commercial we are often asked what address the landlord must supply to its tenant of rented residential property.  Landlords might not want their tenants to contact them direct, particularly when they are using agents to manage their property.  Helen Porter, Warner Goodman’s residential landlord and tenant property litigation solicitor provides clarity on this legal issue. 

The starting point is with Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 which makes it a legal requirement for the landlord to provide to its tenant an address in England and Wales at which notices can be served by the tenant.  The wording is quite clear and can include the landlord’s agent’s address.  This will usually be provided for in the tenancy agreement.

Where no contact address has been provided, there is no obligation on the tenant to pay rent or service charge which is otherwise lawfully due under the tenancy agreement.  A tenant facing possession on grounds of rent arrears may be able to rely on the absence of a landlord’s address to prevent a possession order being made.

However, this should be contrasted with the requirements of Section 47 which requires that any written demand for rent or service charge must contain the name and address of the landlord.  Even if the landlord lives outside England and Wales, his address still needs to be given but the landlord will also be required to provide an address in England and Wales at which notices may be served on him by the tenant, usually his managing agents.

This was clarified by the, then, Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in Beitov Properties Limited v Elliston Bentley Martin, in 2012 on appeal, which concerned a claim for arrears of service charge originally brought before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.

Helen Porter advises that this distinction is crucial but not fatal.  If the demand for rent does not include the landlord’s address, an amended demand can still be made and the tenant cannot avoid payment.  Helen also warns that while the tenancy agreement can give the landlord’s agent’s address for service of notices, where the tenant makes a request under section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 for the landlord’s name and address, this must be provided, in writing, within 21 days.  If the information is not provided without reasonable excuse, then this amounts to a criminal offence punishable by a fine.

Helen Porter can be contacted on 023 8071 7425 or by email helenporter@warnergoodman.co.uk.  To contact the other members of the Commercial Litigation Team you can call 023 8071 7717 or visit their section of the website here.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.