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Your notice is served

Thursday, December 19, 2013
How to serve notices to your tenants

From time to time, you will find yourself having to communicate with your tenant formally during a tenancy.  This is done by way of serving your tenant a notice/document (which is really legal talk for someone to legally receive your communication and be notified of its contents).  

Be it a 14-day notice to remedy, a rent increase letter, or even a notice to terminate, sections 136 and 136A of the Residential Tenancies Act set out the legal parameters within which notices can be served on a tenant.  

Here is a break-down of rules and timeframes:

Types of service Methods  The day on which notice takes effect* If served on a Monday, notice is deemed to legally commence on
In person Physically handing the notice to the tenant. If the recipient refuses to accept, than dropping it at their feet.   The following day Tuesday 
By post  Posting the document to the address for service provided (best to retain tracking details). 4 working days after the date of posting  Friday
By delivery To the address of the tenancy:
  • placing the notice in the mailbox;
  • attaching notice to the door in a prominent position; 
  • handing it to a person who appears to be over 16 and who resides at the premises.
To any other place of residence of the tenant by:
  • handing it to a person who appears to be over 16, resides at the premises and who confirms that the tenant also resides at the premises.
To the tenant's address for service (if the above do not apply) by: 
  • handing it to a person who appears to be over 16 and who resides at the premises.
To a solicitor or an agent of the tenant who is duly authorised by the tenant to receive legal notices.
2nd working day after delivery Wednesday 
By facsimile  Transmitting the notice by fax if the fax number was specified as an address for service no later than 5pm on a given day (best to retain a copy of transmission confirmation).   Next working day after it was deemed sent (before 5pm)  Tuesday (if sent before 5pm)
Wednesday (if sent after 5pm)
By email Emailing the notice to the email address specified as an address for service no later than 5pm on a given day (best to retain a copy of email) Next working day after it was deemed sent (before 5pm) Tuesday (if sent before 5pm)
Wednesday (if sent after 5pm)

*unless the tenant can produce evidence to prove that delivery was delayed or did not occur

If time is of the essence and you want your notice to take effect as soon as possible, we recommend you to serve it by facsimile or email (make sure you collect these information at the start of the tenancy as addresses for service for this exact purpose).  

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