When a tenant of an Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 (‘AHA 1986′) tenancy dies, both the landlord and any potential successors to the tenancy need to consider their options carefully.
A landlord is likely to want to serve a Case G notice to quit (‘Case G NTQ‘) on the deceased tenant’s personal representatives. The death of a tenant is one of the few occasions on which a landlord of an AHA 1986 tenancy can serve a notice to quit and a landlord should not pass up this opportunity by failing to serve one correctly.
The procedure in the AHA 1986 in relation to Case G is strict in nature and the time limits imposed are not flexible. It is crucial that landlords and their advisers are aware of the relevant deadlines.
The following example timeline sets out a situation which is frequently seen in practice.
Written notification of the tenant’s death needs to be given to the landlord by the personal representatives. The landlord does not always know the identity of the personal representatives at the time the notice is served, and therefore landlords should err on the side of caution when considering whether the notice informing them of the death of the tenant was given correctly.
The landlord must serve a Case G NTQ within three months of receiving the written notification of the tenant’s death – Schedule 3, Part 1 AHA 1986.
Alternatively, the three months will start running when the landlord receives a notice of an application for succession from the Tribunal if no formal written notification of death was received. If both are received by the landlord, time will start running from whichever notice is received first.
The landlord does not have to wait to receive the written notification of the tenant’s death to serve a Case G NTQ.
The landlord will lose the chance to serve a Case G NTQ. If a Case G NTQ is not served within that three month period, the tenancy will then vest in the deceased tenant’s personal representatives.
If there is any doubt over whether the personal representatives are executors or alternatively administrators of the deceased tenant’s estate, a copy of the notice should also be lodged with the Public Trustee.
Landlords need to be aware that a Case G NTQ cannot be served on a tenant if the tenant is a company. Also, if there are joint tenants, a Case G NTQ can only be served upon the death of the sole surviving tenant.
Correct service of the Case G NTQ is very important. The procedure for serving the Case G NTQ runs alongside that of a potential successor to the tenancy applying to the tribunal for a succession tenancy. Our team regularly deals with the service of Case G NTQ and succession applications. Please contact us to find out more.