Serving notices and issuing proceedings against absent Tenants

Liam O’Shea, Director and Solicitor in Astle Paterson’s Dispute Resolution department discusses a recent High Court decision which stated a Landlord can properly seek possession of a property from a Tenant even if the notices and Court papers are served at the property whilst the Tenant is abroad or away from the house.

Liam said “In the case of Friendship Care and Housing Association Ltd v Awotula [2015] EWHC 2048 (QB) a Landlord had sent a notice to the Tenant seeking possession on the basis rent arrears on 13th June 2014 to the rented property.

The Landlord issued possession proceedings on the basis of that notice, and the outstanding rent, on 30th July 2014 and on 4th August 2014 the Landlord notified the Tenant of the Court hearing date by sending the Court papers to the Tenant at the house.

The Tenant did not attend the hearing and in his absence the Judge made an order for possession.

However, on 19th September the Tenant applied to the Court to set aside the order for possession – contending that he was abroad from 16th March to 9th September 2014 and therefore that he did not know about the hearing.

The Judge dismissed the application – he concluded that the documents had been deemed ‘served’ on the Tenant for the purposes of the possession proceedings, even though the Tenant may not have actually received or read the paperwork.  Further, a recent decision by the High Court upheld this as correct.”

Liam concluded “The case will give comfort to Landlords who are concerned about issuing possession proceedings against absent Tenants.  So long as Landlords can show the correct procedure has been followed then any possession order made will still be valid should the Tenant later argue that they were actually unaware of either the notice requiring possession or the possession proceedings.”

Liam O’Shea of Astle Paterson specialises in the law of Landlord & Tenant and carries out work on behalf of Landlords throughout Burton upon Trent and the surrounding areas – please contact him on 01283 531366 or by email at

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