When a landlord wishes to take back possession of a property due to, for example, rent arrears a prescribed notice must be given to the tenant before the landlord can issue possession proceedings. The notice must state the earliest date court proceedings can be brought (which depends on the ground upon which possession is sought). In a recent case the notice contained a typographical error by giving the date “26 November 2017” instead of 26 November 2018 being at least 2 weeks from the date the notice was served. The court initially ruled that, despite it being an obvious error with the correct date being obvious to the tenant, the notice which required specific statutory imposed information was invalid and the landlord had to start the process again.
The landlord appealed the decision. Following a hearing in February this year the Court of Appeal overturned the original decision and ruled that the obvious and correct date is to be inserted into the notice thus making it comply with the statutory requirements.
Whilst landlords can take some comfort from this ruling which to some degree shifts in their favour the balance of power between landlords and tenants an abundance of caution should always be used when completing such notices because any ambiguity in the interpretation of the correct date would likely have resulted in a different outcome.
This blog was written by: Allan Kornbluth
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this post sets out the general position under the general law. It should not be acted upon in any specific circumstances without taking specific legal advice as to those circumstances. Also, it should not be relied upon, acted upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. If you do require specific advice please contact us for assistance.