Does a Landlord have to provide their home address?Posted: July 6, 2012
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.