In many cases, residential tenants have little to do with their landlords for extended periods of time. During that time landlords may sell their interests or move, making it challenging for tenants to know who they then need to contact when an issue does arise.
The first place to look will be on the last service charge demand.
Service Charge Demands
Under Section 47(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, the landlord’s name and address must be included on every residential property service charge demand, and Section 48(1) also requires that landlords provide an address in England and Wales where they can be contacted for notices and proceedings. It is worth noting that, if the address of the Landlord is not provided in a demand, then a tenant can withhold payment, without penalty, until that information is provided.
The address provided on the demand is where the tenant can send notices such as:
Licence for alterations requests
Lease extension requests
Lease variation requests
Notice of assignment
Notice of charge
Notice of letting
Building’s Insurance information requests
What if the details have not been provided on a demand?
Where a tenant has not heard from their landlord or its agent in some time, an up-to-date freehold title document obtained from the Land Registry should reveal the registered Proprietor’s address. This tells parties who owns that title in the property.
Where the landlord is a limited company, a search at Companies House will provide the registered office address and allow parties to check if this has moved.
As a last resort a tenant could employ the services of a tracing agent, either directly or through their solicitors.
What happens if the landlord still cannot be found?
On occasion the landlord’s whereabouts may not be traceable and legal advice will be needed regarding what to do about any notices or issues under the lease.
If the landlord is absent this can sometimes work in the leaseholder’s favour, particularly where they are seeking a lease extension or seeking to acquire the freehold interest.
For more advice these issues please contact Claire-Elaine Arthurs, Property Litigator at gunnercooke
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