Landlord Wants Tenant to Leave (England)

Evidence service of section 21 notice

27 May 2016 | 3 comments

My tenant is likely to deny receipt of a section 21 eviction notice and I will probably need to apply to the courts for possession. I plan to deliver the notice in person to the property (as detailed in the tenancy agreement). What is the best way to evidence this? I have found someone willing to act as a witness.



  1. guildy

    When delivering by hand the witness is a good thing but I would never mention the witness unless you absolutely have to because we always think it’s a bit of a burden for the witness to produce a statement and attend court to give evidence. A useful backup though.

    The best thing to do is to also photograph the envelope in the letter box at the property using a smartphone that records both date and GPS location.

    In addition to hand delivery, you should always post a copy and obtain from any post office a free of charge certificate of postage. The assumption in law is that a letter is delivered by post unless the tenant can prove otherwise (which is almost impossible for the tenant to prove).

    If you really want to, you could also serve one using the “signed for” service (formerly recorded delivery). We don’t normally recommend this option because if they don’t sign for it – that’s proof they didn’t get it. However, if they don’t sign for it you don’t need to produce the receipt and can just produce the free certificate instead.

    Ensure all this is done on the same day and that all receipts / certificates / photos match the same date as on the notice.

  2. dill

    Thanks for this. Do I also fill in an N215 Certificate of service? Is there a formal witness form that I can keep in reserve?

    • guildy

      You will complete a certificate of service if you get to the court form stage. There is nothing specific for the witness as they would need a “witness statement”. However, they would then have to attend. I would ignore the witness for now as I don’t think you will need to rely on it.

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