How to serve eviction notices correctly and ensure proof that the notice has been served on your tenant
As a landlord, when you’re asking your tenant to move out it’s very important that your eviction notice is in the correct form, as otherwise you won’t be able to use it in court proceedings for possession.
A letter simply asking the tenant to leave by a certain date will not be sufficient.
The following eviction notices must be used when terminating a tenancy; the right eviction notice to use depends on your jurisdiction and the situation:
- Section 21 Notice – Used to terminate an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) at the end of the fixed term
- Section 8 Notice – Used to evict a tenant for rent arrears
Serving an eviction notice in the correct form
When you’re serving an eviction notice, it’s important that the names of the parties and the address on the notice to terminate should match those in the tenancy agreement.
Even if some tenants have moved out, they should still be named on the notice if they were named on the most recent tenancy agreement.
If the tenant is renting a room in a shared house, you need to specify the room (e.g. ‘room 1’) rented by the tenant, as well as the property address.
Serving an eviction notice by hand
Whenever it’s possible, you should serve an eviction notice to your tenant either by handing the notice to the tenant personally or by leaving the notice at the property, normally by inserting it through the letterbox of the property in an envelope addressed to the tenant(s).
If you are leaving it for the tenant at the property it must not be left in a communal post box or table, but must be placed in a private box or under the door of the property.
If in doubt, it should be taped to the door covering the keyhole and a photograph taken of it.
Serving an eviction notice by post
If you’re unable to serve an eviction notice personally, the notice provides for you to send it by post.
When using the post to serve the eviction notice you should get some evidence of the service by getting a proof of posting, which is freely available from the post office.
But unless you trust the tenant to sign and return the copy notice to you to prove service, service by post isn’t recommended.
This is because there is no way you can prove that it was ever delivered (e.g. if you’re challenged by a tenant at court saying that they have never received the notice). You can send the notice by recorded delivery, but tenants often refuse to accept and sign for recorded delivery items.
Serving notice on a difficult tenant
When you want to terminate a tenancy of a difficult tenant, you should only ever serve a notice by hand. It you can’t do this yourself, arrange for someone else to serve it for you or arrange for the notice to be served by a professional process server.
If you think that the tenant may lie and deny that they received the notice, even when it was delivered by hand, it’s best to use a process server or arrange to have an independent witness present.