Does a Landlord have to provide their home address?

The issue of the landlord’s address to be used in a tenancy agreement recently arose when I was asked if a landlord can use a virtual business address.

The starting point is Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. This requires that the tenant is provided with an address where notices may be served on the landlord. It is usual to satisfy the requirements of Section 48 by including an address within the tenancy agreement. Where it is not included, a separate notice should be served on the tenant.

Until the tenant is provided with the landlord’s address the landlord cannot demand rent. As such, the landlord cannot seek possession of the property on rent arrears grounds or the arrears themselves until the requirement of Section 48 has been complied with.

So what address can the landlord use? The address must be in England and Wales but the address need not be the landlord’s home address. The address can be that of the landlord’s agent whether that be their letting agent, solicitor or friend.

The address can be a business address although this would have to be an actual address rather than any online reference. Ideally, the business address would be the registered office if the landlord is a company.  There is nothing in the legislation which states that the address cannot be a P O Box address. However, it would be better to use an occupied address where post is collected on a regular basis.

Landlords can, therefore, avoid disclosing their home address within a tenancy agreement. However, there are two points of caution.

The first is that the landlords must remember that should the tenant request, in writing, for details of the landlords address (pursuant to Section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985) then the landlord must respond, also in writing, within 21 days giving their home address. To not do so would be a criminal offence.

Secondly, I refer to my recent blog titled “Residential service charges not due until landlord’s address provided”.  This addressed a recent decision which provided that rent demands must include the landlord’s home address. This case, however, related to the demand  of service charges under a lease and not rent under an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. There is the possibility that the Courts could reach a similar decision in the future which would affect tenancy agreements. If the landlord wished to avoid all risk then they should provide their actual home address but, as it stands, there is no requirement to do so.

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3 Comments on “Does a Landlord have to provide their home address?”

  1. mary latham says:

    I am not legally qualified so forgive my ignorance but I cannot see how the law can be satisfied by using a PO Box, Letting Agent or friend. A Solicitor, who has agreed to accept Service of Legal Notices on behalf of his client – yes but how can a Legal Notice be served on a person at a PO Box or anywhere that he could not normally be found?
    In your words..
    “The starting point is Section 48 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. This requires that the tenant is provided with an address where notices may be served on the landlord8 Notification by landlord of address for service of notices..

    Section 48 of the 1987 Act says

    (1)A landlord of premises to which this Part applies shall by notice furnish the tenant with an address in England and Wales at which notices (including notices in proceedings) may be served on him by the tenant. .
    (2)Where a landlord of any such premises fails to comply with subsection (1), any rent or service charge otherwise due from the tenant to the landlord shall (subject to subsection (3)) be treated for all purposes as not being due from the tenant to the landlord at any time before the landlord does comply with that subsection. .
    (3)Any such rent or service charge shall not be so treated in relation to any time when, by virtue of an order of any court, there is in force an appointment of a receiver or manager whose functions include the receiving of rent or (as the case may be) service charges from the tenant.

    source http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1987/31/section/48

    Am I misunderstanding the term “notices may be served on him by the tenant?

    Is a Notice legally served if it is posted to a PO Box or given to a persons “friend”?

    • garetharcher says:

      Mary

      Thank you for your comments. The application of Section 48 provides that a landlord can nominate an address for service, provided that address is in England and Wales. Section 48 does not expand on the nature of that address. As yet, the caveat as mentioned in my original article (that the address must be the landlords home address) does not yet apply to assured shorthold tenancies.

      The important point is that the landlord has nominated an address for service themselves. It should be a valid postal address. Just as the landlord can nominate the use of the letting agents address as the address for service, they could provide for a friend to accept service. Provided the tenant can certify that they have served any notice at the nominated postal address, it is the landlord’s responsibility to check their post. The landlord would, therefore, have to suffer any delay, and possible prejudice, which results in any such notice coming to their late attention. The landlord therefore carries a risk in not using their own address as it relies on others notifying them of receipt of any post or the landlord regularly checking a P O Box.

      It is worth adding that if I was acting for a tenant then not only would I serve any notice at the nominated P O Box address but I would also make enquiries with the Royal Mail who, i understand, can, upon request, disclose the P O Box holder’s address if there is good reason to do so. However, there would be no requirement for the tenant to make these additional enquiries.

      I can’t guarantee that a County Court Judge would agree on the above view at first instance (there is always an element of litigation risk) but Section 48 provides that an alternative address, to that of the landlord’s home address, can be used. The landlord must consider the risks of not disclosing their home address against the benefits.

  2. mary latham says:

    I have just read an interesting article on this subject here http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/blog/news/placing-importance-on-a-landlords-address

    The advice here is that a landlord MUST use his home or office address on the AST

    ““The tribunal decided that the landlord in that situation could not use an agent’s address. The demand has to show the landlord’s place of residence or place of business, if the landlord has one, such as an office-owned or rented by the landlord where the landlord carries on business.”

    I realise that the case mentioned is a Ground Rent/Service charge case but the advice that landlords should take heed at give their information on an AST. This feels like the safe thing to do.


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