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Service of Notices On The Death Of A Tenant

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

The recent case of Gateway Housing Association Ltd v (1) The Personal Representatives of Mr Ali (Deceased) (2) Mrs Begum EWCA Civ 1339 has established that copy Notices to Quit are not held to the same requirements as their regular counterparts.

Here the tenant, Mr Ali, died part way through his tenancy and Mrs Begum (amongst others) remained in occupation despite a lack of entitlement to succeed the tenancy.

To begin the eviction process the landlord served a Notice to Quit on the Personal Representatives of Mr Ali at his last known address. As required by s.18 Law of Property (Misc. Provisions) Act 1994 they also served a notice on the Public Trustee.

The Court case came about because the dates of expiry on the two notices were different; usually, this results in both notices being declared invalid for lack of clarity.

This time, however, the Court of Appeal ruled that the notice to the Public Trustee was only a copy and was of lesser importance. The Judge was happy for the main Notice to stand as long as the Public Trustee’s notice was served before the expiry of the main notice to the Personal Representatives – which in this case it was.

The case serves as a reminder of the importance of getting housing possession proceeding Notices exactly right, but also suggests that not all notice recipients carry the same weight in the event of the death of a tenant.