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Reasonable notice

Construction of notices: Gary Blaker examines the courts’ approach since Mannai and reviews recent developments

26 September 2003

If the House of Lords hoped Mannai Investment Co Ltd v Eagle Star Life Assurance Co Ltd [1997] AC 749 would bring clarity to the difficult issue of notices between landlords and tenants, they would be sorely disappointed. The past six years has seen a plethora of cases, both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal, all concerning the construction of notices given between landlord and tenant. They have covered statutory notices, including notices under s 20 of the Housing Act 1988, notices under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, and simple break notices. As the number of notices, particularly statutory notices, in the field of landlord and tenant has increased, so has litigation over their validity. Great commercial stakes often ride on the validity of, say, a break notice. If a court holds a notice is invalid, the consequences can be significant, not just for the parties to the l...

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