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I was served 2 months notice to move out of a rental house recently by letter as the landlord wanted their house back. However, a few weeks later and having had no subsequent contact from the estate agent/landlord, I was wondering what would happen if someone in a similar situation claimed to, or actually did not, receive the letter.

The letter was not sent via recorded delivery, maybe that's normally what happens and it solves this problem? Essentially though there is no proof I received the letter whatsoever and they are required to give two months notice. So it may be a week before moving date and the landlord contacted the tenant asking how moving out was going etc. and the tenant has no idea what they were talking about because the letter got lost.

Would they then be required to give 2 months notice from that point on, or could they just claim they served the notice and kick the tenant out anyway?

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Assuming you have an assured shorthold tenancy, it's not the landlord himself that can evict you.

The process is that he serves you notice, and if you don't move by the time the notice period ends, then he has to go to court in order to obtain a court order to end the tenancy.

The landlord must demonstrate to the court that he has properly served notice to the tenant. This is a bit of a grey area, but this article suggests that, to avoid ambiguity, the landlord should either use recorded delivery (which would provide proof as to whether or not the tenant received it), or deliver it by hand with an independent witness present.

In the case of a section 21 "no fault" eviction, the only defence a tenant has is that the correct procedure has not been followed. So it is in the landlord's interest to ensure that notice has been received beyond any doubt.

  • In other words, this particular landlord made a mistake by not sending via recorded delivery which could be very costly if he had an unscrupulous tenant who doesn't mind lying. – gnasher729 Apr 12 '18 at 14:19
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    @gnasher729: Yes, though it merely delays the (probably) inevitable. – Steve Melnikoff Apr 12 '18 at 14:21
  • I'm not sure that the landlord did make a mistake. There is a presumption that first class letters are delivered in two days. This is rebuttable, but the onus would be on the tenant to provide evidence (for example, testimony) that they didn't receive the notice to quit. – Martin Bonner Apr 12 '18 at 14:54
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    @MartinBonner: yes, the tenant would have to state, in court, that he didn't receive the notice, and the judge would have to believe him. Also, as the linked article discusses in some detail, proof of posting is not the same as proof of delivery to the tenant. – Steve Melnikoff Apr 12 '18 at 14:57
  • Recorded delivery is quite cheap compared to all the possible trouble that could happen if the tenant is lying, so I'd say not using recorded delivery here is a mistake. – gnasher729 Apr 13 '18 at 11:38

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