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Serving Documents upon Tenants.

How do you properly serve documents upon tenants that the Judge will accept and not dismiss?

They’re numerous ways that you can serve documents to ensure that you give a tenant ‘efficient and proper’ notice to allow them time to find alternative living arrangements.

Different process servers, bailiffs, creditors and solicitors will have their own ideas of what they class as ‘good service’ however we have listed numerous methods that a judge will accept within reason.

The first thing that a landlord needs to understand is that their tenancy agreement will more than likely have both parties agreeing to a form of service that will be accepted if needed.

1st Class Post:

When you decide to try and serve documents by post you will need to always send these documents as 1st Class. When you send the documents ensure that you get a certificate from the post office.

You have to adhere to the expiry dates within the documents and when you post the documents via 1st class you should ideally allow an extra five working days to ensure that you meet the deadline.

If we go back to the tenancy agreement and it states the following; Section 196 of the Law of Property Act 1925 you must serve the documents in the following ways:

Leaving the documents at the address:

If the tenants are still residing at your property you can leave the documents at the address by safely posting them through the letterbox. We strongly advice that if you decide to undertake this method of service that you obtain some type of evidence, which could be: Taking a photograph or film the process of inserting them through the letterbox, you could also take a witness along with you.

If you leave the documents at the address before 4.30pm the deemed service date is of the same day. However if you leave the documents after 4.30pm, deemed service will be classed as the following  ‘working’ day so therefore if you serve after 4.30pm on a Friday or before a bank holiday the date of service will be the following Monday.

Recorded Delivery:

Serving documents via recorded delivery is a lot more efficient than posting the documents through the letterbox yourself as the documents will have to be signed for, therefore notifying you that the tenant has received the documents and they have notified you that they are now in receipt of them. If however the documents are returned without gaining a signature, service will not be classed as deemed and you will have to seek alternative methods.

Personal Service:

The best method of service would be to personally serve the documents upon the tenants by instructing a process server. When you instruct a process server, they will attend at the given address and personally hand the documents to the tenant stating that they have been served. Once the documents have been serving, the process server will complete a Certificate of Service stating the details of the service and signing it to confirm that the contents of the certificate are true, they will also exhibit all documents served.

The date of service is again before 4.30pm the day of service and after 4.30pm the next working day.

Conclusion:

If you are unsure regarding the best possible method of service we recommend that you contact a solicitor to assist your case. However we can state that serving the documents upon the tenants personally will be classed as the best possible service that the judge will accept every time if service is carried out in a professional, ethical and careful manner.

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