Do You Know Your Landlord’s Address? You May Need To!

In a unique decision of interest to property professionals, the High Court has ruled that a landlord’s address, as it appears on a lease, is to be taken in law as being his or her ‘abode or place of business’ for the purposes of serving documents, even if that is not in fact the case.

OfficeThe four trustees of a pension fund leased three floors of an office block to an NHS trust. On the face of the leases, one address was given for all four landlords. The trust served notices on that address with a view to terminating the leases early by the exercise of a contractual break clause.

The landlords argued that the notices had not been properly served on them and that the leases therefore remained extant. That was on the basis that the address was not the abode or place of business of any of them and that the notices did not come to their attention until after the date on which they had to be served.

In ruling in the trust’s favour, the Court noted that it would be very odd if a person were able to tell someone what his address is, never giving any indication to the contrary, and yet subsequently deny that it is in fact his address. On a true construction of the leases, the landlords had nominated the address as their abode or place of business.

By giving the particular address, the landlords had made their own decision as to the likelihood of documents sent to that address actually coming to their attention. They had made no attempt to inform the trust of any new address and it was reasonable that any risk that the documents might not in fact reach them fell on the landlords. In those circumstances, the leases had been validly terminated.