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Notices following Death of a Tenant - Supreme Court refuses appeal against Gateway Housing v PRs of Mohammed Nuruj Ali & Delara Begum [2020] EWCA Civ 1339

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The Supreme Court has refused permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision in Gateway Housing v PRs of Mohammed Nuruj Ali & Delara Begum [2020] EWCA Civ 1339.

The case revolved around the problem of serving a Notice to Quit where the tenant has died and there is no successor.

S18 Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994 provides for a copy of the notice to be served on the Public Trustee.

In this case, the Notice to Quit was served on the Personal Representatives (“PRs”) by post to the property on 15 October 2018. The copy was not though sent to the Public Trustee until 18 October. They registered it on 30 October.

The late tenant’s wife defended the claim and was initially successful. She argued that there were two different notices with different expiry dates.

Gateway gained permission for a “leapfrog” appeal to the Court of Appeal. The tenant’s lawyers again argued there were two notices and that both had to expire on the same date.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the landlord on its main ground of appeal. There was just one notice.  The one that was served on the PRs. 

The copy that must be served on the Public Trustee is just that, a copy. It needs to be served on the Public Trustee before the original notice has expired. But it does not have to have to be served at the same time.

Serving the copy before expiry of the notice means you have complied with s18(1).

We would though recommend serving the copy at the same time if only to make sure it is not forgotten. The copy should be served with the Form NL(1) and payment of the Public Trustee’s fees (currently £40, payable only by BACS).

The Supreme Court’s refusal to grant permission means that these arguments can now be put to bed.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to grant permission to appeal has clarified the law and made life much easier for the housing sector to manage properties following the death of a tenant. Our Partner Daniel Skinner previously supervised the successful case for the landlord in the Court of Appeal.

If you have any queries on this article, or any other death and succession issues, do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.