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Serving Notices to Tenants

June 3rd, 2014.

Topics: Landlord Advice
  While being a very boring topic, serving notices to Tenants without allowing the required time for the notice to be received can sometimes result in the Landlord being ordered to pay the Tenant financial compensation.
 
If you are serving your Tenant a formal notice such as a notice to inspect, a 14 day breach notice or a notice to terminate - not only must you give the required notice period, for example 90 days for a termination notice, but you must also allow additional time for the serving of that notice. And depending on whether you serve that notice by post, email or in person and on what day of the week the notice is sent, then it could be upwards of an extra 7 days that you actually need to allow in order to serve that notice.
 
Sound confusing? It is!
 
Now if you read the Residential Tenancies Act it can be a confusing task interpreting the exact rules around this, but here’s our simplified version:
 
Handed to the Tenant
If you are going to hand the notice to the Tenant in person then it’s all relatively simple and the notice is deemed to have been served immediately. So you can start counting day 1 of your notice period from the very next day.
 
Left in Letterbox
If you leave the notice in the letterbox of the property which has been given by the Tenant as an address for service (see below), then the notice is deemed to have been served two working days after the day you deliver it. So if you deliver the notice on a Friday, it is not deemed as being served till the Tuesday and day 1 of your notice period does not begin till the Wednesday.
 
Posted
If you post the notice to the address that has been given by the Tenant as an address for service (see below), then the notice is deemed to have been served four working days after the day you deliver it. So if you post the notice on a Friday, it is not deemed as being served till the Thursday and day 1 of your notice period does not begin till the Friday, one whole week after you originally sent it.
 
Emailed
Now here is where it gets really twisted
If the Tenant has given an email as an address for service and you send the notice to that email address before 5pm, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, it is deemed as being served immediately. But if you send the email after 5pm no matter what day of the week it is, the notice is deemed as being served on the next working day. So if you sent your notice via email at 4pm on a Saturday, then the notice is served that day and day 1 of your notice period begins the next day on the Sunday.  But if you waited two hours and sent it at 6pm on that same Saturday then the notice is not deemed as being served till the next working day being Monday and day 1 of the notice period doesn’t start till the Tuesday.  So in this example the difference of 2 hours can quite often cost you two days!
 
Address for Service
An address for service is the address that is given by the Tenant usually at the start of the Tenancy and is stated on the Tenancy Agreement, this is the place where the Tenant has indicated they would like all of their notices to be sent. As a rule in addition to a physical address we always try and get an email address that can be used as an address for service as it can speed the whole process up considerably, especially when dealing with time sensitive issues like rent arrears.  Only send the notice to the address for service that you have for the Tenant, if you don’t have an email address stated as an address for service, then send it via post or deliver it personally.

Contact us today if we can help you with serving notices.

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