On methods of valid service for an eviction notice, case law is rich, extensive, abundant, and unequivocally clear: electronic communications are not a bs valid method of service unless a tenant has explicitly consented to being served in such a manner, at a particular supplied email address. But an eviction notice is statutorily not valid without being accompanied by certain other materials including the how to rent in England guide, gas certificate, EPC, and DPS prescribed information.
What legal authorities do we have to go on as to the valid methods of service for these mandatory accompanying materials? Would we be amiss to understand that as they are required to validate the eviction notice then any case law concerning the valid methods of service to the one would apply equally to the other?
Additions: in another question about service of process, respected user Steve Melkinoff gives a link to a very informative article which I transplant here: https://landlordlawblog.co.uk/2017/01/17/why-not-serving-notices-properly-can-cost-you-your-case/
If the item is sent by email, the Judge may refuse to accept this unless you are able to show both that the tenant consented to served in this manner and that the tenant actually received the notice (and this will usually need to be by way of an actual email confirming it rather than a ‘read receipt’ or tracking message).
Later on in the comments, respected user @DaleM gives a few interesting remarks that seem of a different spirit than his more recent answers on similar issues:
emails may or may not count as valid service. It depends on the jurisdiction and the legislation. Similarly, mail may not be a valid way to serve some notices. Courts are pragmatic but if the law says service must be by X, Y or Z, then A isn’t service. As I said, these things are technical. – Dale M ♦ May 31 at 12:40
Okay, so my question would be to apply this specifically to the jurisdiction of E&W. Whereas the fantastic article linked by Steve offers abundant case law examples establishing correct methods of service for an actual eviction notice, and whereas Dale M meanwhile notes that these things are technical and binary, what does the law, whether in statutes or previous case rulings, say about serving the following mandated supplementary items?
- How to rent in England
- DPS PROTECTION CERTIFICATE
@deep64blue yes, but if none of your good faith efforts are valid service, too bad. – Dale M ♦ May 31 at 12:43
I don’t know the particular legislation but if it says the defendant must be served in a particular way then it’s irrelevant if they know about the document or not. If it hasn’t been served properly it doesn’t matter if the supposed recipient has a dozen copies - they haven’t been served. – Dale M ♦ May 31 at 12:47
From another relevant article from Dutton Gregory provided by @WeatherVane:
Prior to 2017, if a question ever came up as to whether service by email was allowed, the answer given was fairly straightforward. Section 196 of the Law of Property Act 1925 allowed for service of notices relating to property by hand-delivery or registered post (i.e. recorded delivery) only but that other methods of service were allowed if specifically expressed in the tenancy agreement. So, if the tenancy agreement says that email service is ok, then email service is ok. This position seemed to be backed up by the Interpretation Act 1978 which defined “writing” as including “typing, printing, lithography, photography and other modes of representing or reproducing words in a visible form and expressions referring to writing are to be construed accordingly”. Further, the Law Commission has also stated that emails and website trading will generally satisfy the Interpretation Act definitions of writing.
In 2017, however, the County Court at Central London reached an altogether different conclusion in Cowthorpe Road 1-1A Freehold Ltd v Wahedally  L. & T.R. 4..
The case concerned a notice served under the Leasehold Reform (Housing and Urban Development) Act 1993. The judge (HHJ Dight) considered the wording of s99 of that Act (although the notice in question was served under s21) and, in particular, noted that it provided that any notice sent in accordance with the Act must be in writing and may be sent by post. The judge concluded that, as the notice may be sent by post, it can be inferred that a hard copy was required. He also noted that it was a requirement of the notice that it must be signed and that, therefore, any notice sent by email could not be an ‘original’. It could only ever be a copy. Further, HHJ Dight also noted that the Act in question referred in numerous place to “copies” of notices whereas s21 referred only to “the notice”. He concluded therefore that a copy was not sufficient and that, as an emailed version could only ever be a copy, as opposed to “the notice” itself, email service was not sufficient.