Service with a smile

In that elusive happy–go-lucky world where landlords and tenants co-exist in blissful harmony, serving formal notices on each other is probably unnecessary. No doubt, a cup of tea and a friendly chat achieves the same purpose. But in the real world of ducking and diving, dodging and weaving, serving notices is unavoidable and invariably involves plenty of the proverbial nasty stuff hitting the fan. Sorry to burst the bubble, but let’s deal with it.



First of all, the basics.  A Notice needs to be served on the correct person, at the correct address, and in the correct way.  Let’s assume for now that you have filled in the Notice correctly and that you have sent it to the right person.  What if, having posted the Notice, the recipient denies having received it?  Serving by recorded delivery would seem to deal with that risk. But what if the recipient refuses to sign for the letter?  It is often several weeks before you are notified that a letter has not been signed for. Many a canny property owner or occupier has refused to sign for a recorded delivery item and successfully ruined someone’s day. 


One practical solution is to serve the Notice by recorded delivery and to make a note of the Royal Mail tracking number so that you can then check several days later on the Royal Mail website that the Notice has been signed for. Be disciplined about this.  If it has been signed for, you can relax. If however the website shows that the Notice has not been signed for, you would be well advised to implement Plan B and to arrange for the Notice to be served by hand. There are plenty of willing process servers who can deal with service quickly and efficiently and who, as part of their fee, can embrace the risk of attending at the recipient’s address and being met with a crowbar wielding tenant, or starving attack dog, or a combination of both.


The bottom line is that serving Notices can seem deceptively simple.  The deception is that sending a bit of paper to someone really isn’t that difficult.  The truth is that sending that bit of paper to a person who may want to avoid receiving it can sometimes feel like nailing jelly to the ceiling. 

For any advice in relation to issues raised in this article, please contact Andrew Turner on 01242 586 841 or