Landlords beware when trying to recover monies from tenants
Published ¤ 06/07/2012 10:20:45
In a recent case at the Land Tribunal, a landlord seeking to recover unpaid charges from the tenant was deemed NOT to have served a valid notice, and the tenant was "let off".
The case (Beitov Properties v Elliston Bentley Martin  UKUT 133 (LC)) ruled that because the landlord used a "care of" address of the managing agent, the demand notice did not comply with the statutory requirements of section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.
Many landlords use the address of their managing agents, not wanting to disclose their actual address to their tenants, however the Act requires a landlord (an individual or a company) to use their actual address in any demand notice.
Although the landlord could simply re-issue the notice, with the correct address (assuming it was still within the statutory 18 months), tenants could potentially claim back any invalid demands that were paid in the last 6 years!
Paul Skinner, from Hampshire based mortgage broker, PKS, said "Landlords need to take notice of this case. It is all too easy for tenants to delay paying their landlord, and, if the landlord is not careful, they could potentially avoid paying altogether. Landlords must use their actual address and not, for example, a care of address of a managing agent. Anything less could leave the landlord with a failed service charge claim.
"If you are considering buying your first buy-to-let (BTL) property, or you are an inexperienced landlord, it is essential that you obtain professional advice, as this case proves."
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