If your Landlord has not served a proper Section 8 or Section 21 Notice, you do not need to take any action and you should not say anything to them to alert them to the fact that the notice may be defective as they will be able to remedy the matter by serving a fresh and valid notice.
The notice contains two important dates. The first is the date on which your Landlord signs the notice (“first date”). The second is the date after which your Landlord is notifying you that they will start possession proceedings (“second date”).
The second date is one of the most important details to be included in the notice. If your Landlord gets that wrong any possession proceedings which they bring at a later date may be struck out by the court with an order that your Landlord has to pay your legal costs. That can be a very expensive mistake for your Landlord to make.
Your Landlord needs to calculate the second date by having regard to the following.
The notice needs to be formally served upon you. Your tenancy agreement usually stipulates how your Landlord should serve such notices and you need to check the agreement to make sure that your Landlord complies with it when serving any notices on you. If the agreement does not clearly stipulate how your Landlord must serve the Section 8 Notice, then your Landlord should serve it by handing it to you in person – this is called “personal service”. Your Landlord can also get a process server to do this on their behalf. If you avoid personal service, there are other ways of serving a notice such as putting it through your letterbox. Your Landlord can also post the notice to you. These latter two means of service are less preferable as you might be able to argue at a later stage that you had not received the notice, but you could not allege that unless you had not actually received the notice. If your Landlord knows and can give evidence to the court that they handed the notice to you then that is likely to be accepted by the court.
For this reason the preferred method of service by Landlords is personal service.
Your Landlord then needs to complete a certificate of service and they will probably use the following prescribed form suitably adapted to include your and your Landlord’s details: –
Once the notice has been served properly the court will work out what is the date of “deemed service”. In the case of personal service the date of deemed service is the day on which your Landlord hands the document to you or leaves it at the premises by putting it through the letterbox provided your Landlord does this before 4:30 pm on a business day. If the document is served on a non-business day then it will be deemed to have been served on the next business day thereafter. For example if your Landlord serves the notice on a Friday before 4:30 pm it will be deemed served on that Friday. If your Landlord serves it after 4:30 pm on that Friday, it will be deemed served on the following Monday.
The “second date” should be must at least three calendar months after the date of “deemed service”.
Let’s take an example. Your Landlord’s notice is dated 15 April 2020 and they hand it to you on that same date before 4:30 pm. We recommend that the “second date” stipulated in the notice should be no earlier than 18 July 2020 so as to avoid any arguments that you had not received the full three months notice. In this case your Landlord could have stipulated a “second date” of, say, 16 July 2020, but it is not worth them taking a risk for the sake of a couple of days here or there.