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How to serve Section 13 notice to absent tenant?

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Author Topic: How to serve Section 13 notice to absent tenant?  (Read 96 times)
Newbie
Posts: 4

I like property

« on: June 20, 2022, 12:14:16 PM »

I'm intending to increase the rent on one of my rentals but my tenant is away at the moment, for possibly an extended period. While they are away I am carrying out some renovations and improvements so I'm getting to see that they are not coming in and collecting their mail. It is all just stacking up.

I've informed them of my intention by text, but feel I should keep it formal and back it up by issuing a Section 13 Notice changing the rent too. The thing is, posting a Section 13 Notice to them by Royal Mail seems rather pointless as I don't think they will see it until after it has taken effect. Is it appropriate to serve a S13 Notice by email or by text?

I've tried searching the forum but crafting a good search term for this is proving difficult.

Thanks for any opinions!
Mike
Full Member
Posts: 193

Landlord - always learning

« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2022, 06:16:39 PM »

As well as specifying the serving of notices by post, does your tenancy agreement allow for sending notices by email (many do have such a provision)?

If so, serving by email should suffice.

If you don't have their email address, you could text them to ask for it.
Newbie
Posts: 4

I like property

« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2022, 10:01:44 AM »

As well as specifying the serving of notices by post, does your tenancy agreement allow for sending notices by email (many do have such a provision)?

If so, serving by email should suffice.

If you don't have their email address, you could text them to ask for it.

Hi Handyman, thanks for your reply. Good idea, reading the AST! I'll do that when I get back home.

I rather doubt it mentions methods as it is 14 years old and the template AST written by the (then) letting agent several years previously. But I'll check all the same.

I do have their email address and they communicate with me by email from time to time, I was more concerned that is push ever comes to shove, whether a court would accept service by email as being valid.
Full Member
Posts: 193

Landlord - always learning

« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2022, 12:05:30 PM »

Quote
I was more concerned that is push ever comes to shove, whether a court would accept service by email as being valid.

Others here with more knowledge may be able to comment on that.



For info (and maybe for future use), the agreement I use says:

--------
13.1. The Landlord gives notice to the Tenant that pursuant to Section 48(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 that notices (including notices in proceedings) may be served on the Landlord at the address specified at the beginning of this agreement.

13.2. Any notice served upon the Tenant by the Landlord pursuant to this agreement or any statute or regulation must be served in writing and will be deemed sufficiently served if sent by registered post or first class post to or left at the Premises. Notices served by recorded delivery post, or prepaid first class post to the Premises, shall be deemed to have been properly served and received by the Tenant on the second day after posting (or if that day is not a working day on the next working day), or in the case of notices left at the Premises on the next working day after delivery.

13.3. The Landlord and the Tenant agree that notices pursuant to this agreement may be served on the other party by email. The email addresses for notice are:

   Landlord: aaa@bbb.ccc
   Tenant:    xxx@yyy.zzz
   
13.4. Notice served by email shall be deemed sufficiently served if it is sent to the Tenant or the Landlord at the email addresses identified above in this agreement and no notification of failure to deliver that email is received. Notices served by email will be deemed served on the next working day after sending.
--------

From this, it is clear that a notice is deemed to have been served (either by post, left at the premises, or sent by email) whether the tenant reads it or not. All that matters is that it arrives.

Therefore, in your circumstances (depending on what your tenancy agreement says), I would hand deliver your letter to the property, take a photo of it there, then email the tenant (attach the photo) to make them aware that notice has been served. Keep the email.


On a separate point...

You wrote: "my tenant is away at the moment, for possibly an extended period". Does your tenancy agreement require the tenant to notify you if they are going to be away (and the property empty) for longer than a certain period? A long absence could have implications for your buildings insurance, so it's worth checking the policy.
Newbie
Posts: 4

I like property

« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2022, 11:32:49 AM »

Thanks your the exert from your AST. Mine having checked, just says service is deemed to have happened if a notice is left at the premises or posted there (to paraphrase).

So I'll leave one there while we fix the excessive water damaged caused by the leak that happened and went unfixed due to the tenant not notifying me they were away, as you presciently pointed out!
Full Member
Posts: 193

Landlord - always learning

« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2022, 12:41:02 PM »

For information, my agreement says:

-----
9.40. To notify the Landlord if the Tenant is to be absent from the Premises for a period exceeding 14 days. Such notification shall be made at least 5 days prior to the commencement of the period of absence and shall state the actual dates over which the Premises will be unoccupied.

9.41. To take all reasonable steps to protect the Premises from frozen or burst pipes or other damage, if the Premises are left vacant for any period.

9.21. To notify the Landlord immediately regarding, and confirm in writing as soon as practical thereafter, any defect in the Premises which comes to the Tenant's attention and which is the responsibility of the Landlord to repair. Failure to do so will result in the tenant having to pay the Landlord all liabilities which may be incurred by the Landlord as a result of any such defect not having been so notified.
-----


Depending on what your agreement says, you may have a legitimate claim on the tenant for failure to comply with their contractual obligations, if you wish go down that route.

Newbie
Posts: 4

I like property

« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2022, 02:40:13 PM »

For information, my agreement says:

-----
9.40. To notify the Landlord if the Tenant is to be absent from the Premises for a period exceeding 14 days. Such notification shall be made at least 5 days prior to the commencement of the period of absence and shall state the actual dates over which the Premises will be unoccupied.

9.41. To take all reasonable steps to protect the Premises from frozen or burst pipes or other damage, if the Premises are left vacant for any period.

9.21. To notify the Landlord immediately regarding, and confirm in writing as soon as practical thereafter, any defect in the Premises which comes to the Tenant's attention and which is the responsibility of the Landlord to repair. Failure to do so will result in the tenant having to pay the Landlord all liabilities which may be incurred by the Landlord as a result of any such defect not having been so notified.
-----


Depending on what your agreement says, you may have a legitimate claim on the tenant for failure to comply with their contractual obligations, if you wish go down that route.


Thanks for the above.

I think you're right, I would have a legitimate claim on the tenant but I'm not that type of LL. I won't be claiming anything from them, but the whole episode has prompted me to decide to review the rent to current market rate now the tenancy has stopped being quiet and no bother!

Curiously, looking at the Notes for Landlords in the Section 13 form supplied by this site, it says the form is not suitable for use with an AST which has rolled over into as SPT, and to rely on the rent review clause in the AST. On checking the AST, it is silent on the subject of rent reviews! (Thanks, that old letting agent.) So, I guess the S13 form is appropriate after all.... any views? Thanks....
Full Member
Posts: 193

Landlord - always learning

« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2022, 02:52:43 PM »

See https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/rent-increases

"How your landlord must propose a rent increase

If the tenancy agreement lays down a procedure for increasing rent, your landlord must stick to this. Otherwise, your landlord can:

    - renew your tenancy agreement at the end of the fixed term, but with an increased rent

    - agree a rent increase with you and produce a written record of the agreement that you both sign

    - use a ‘Landlord’s notice proposing a new rent’ form, which increases the rent after the fixed term has ended

Your landlord must give you a minimum of one month’s notice (if you pay rent weekly or monthly)."


I follow this guidance when in an SPT and issue a Section 13 notice annually. Section 13 being my interpretation of a ‘Landlord’s notice proposing a new rent’ form
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